Cook Sip Party Primp Interviews Raw Canvas Home

04.10.10 by  

Primp Your Glass with Garnish

Elevate the pomp and circumstance of your cocktail experience with tricked-out, edible accoutrements. If you still feel compelled to drop a red dye #37-infused maraschino into your drink, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to host an intervention.

In the world of edible cocktail garnishes, it’s basically anything goes … as long as your “glass art” actually adds to the drinking experience by stimulating the senses (yes, that’s plural). Garnishes must serve more than one purpose by not only adding beauty to the cup, but they also must heighten smell, taste and texture of the sip.

Spear whatever's not moving in your pantry or fridge (make that, whatever's edible...) and spear it for your next garnish. Bonus points for creativity and complementing the taste of your drink.

The Basics

Love them or leave them — we didn’t want the old standbys to feel left out.
  • Fresh herbs — single leaf or whole sprig, give herbs a quick spank before dropping in your glass to release the essential oils
  • Sliced fruit and fresh berries — thinly sliced fruit can be layed on top of foams, or a more traditional wedge can be placed on the side of glasses
  • Citrus peels — twist, torch or cut into strands for decoration
  • Olives — yes, everyone loves a cocktail pick with olives. Ours? Extra, please
  • Marinated fruits — brandied cherries, raisins, cranberries, or dates
  • Pickled and fresh veggies — green beans, spring onions, horseradish, radishes, ginger, celery
  • Infused salts and sugars for rimming
  • Edible flowers — from fresh orchids to preserved hibiscus, they’ll add a feminine touch to your mix

Infused Oils

Dot, dash or swirl flavor-infused oils on top of foam cocktails for a heightened breath of fresh air.
  • Buy ready-made infusions like basil oil, chili and lemon
  • Make your own by infusing flavors into oil — take inspiration on how to make them from Daniel Hyatt’s Infused Cocoa Oil recipe, then riff your own flavors like mushroom, hazelnut, blackberry or cilantro.

Go Green

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Don’t even think about throwing food dregs into the compost bin. Instead, collect and/or wash them, and place in your cocktail glass — something’s got to co-pilot your ice cubes.

  • The leaves from the top of pineapples make drinks appear tall and slender.
  • Slice fresh radishes on a mandoline and float atop your spirits to add a savory bite
  • Infuse sugar with coffee grounds and then sprinkle over a whipped cream topping or around the edge of a chocolate martini glass.

Sweeten the Deal

  • Rock candy — clear or colored, anything on a stick doubles as a garnish and a stirrer
  • Raw cane sugar batons — carve 3- to 4-inch long and 1/2-inch wide batons out of raw cane to impress yourself and your crew
  • Dried fruits — think sweet like banana chips, dates, figs, mango, apricots, kiwis and more
  • Something with vanilla pods…marinated in whiskey (we’re experimenting with this as we type … will let you know how it works
  • Hard candy pieces like butterscotch (link to Joseph Cassidy story), pop rocks or brittle add novelty and a touch of flavor and sweetness
Spice It Up
  • Cinnamon — freshly grated or an entire stick as a stirrer
  • Lemongrass stalks — long and tall
  • Small chili peppers add subtle heat and color
  • Candied ginger
  • A floating scented candle. Okay, just kidding — sort of. Adding scent to the table can heighten an experience when done properly. Rather than taint your drink with wax, how ’bout sidecarring the cocktail with a little flame. Instant ambiance.
Really Raw
  • Hard-boiled quail eggs — we’ve spotted them in Bloody Mary’s galore
  • Skewered baked beans [mad props go to Joel Baker at Bourbon & Branch for keeping it raw]
  • A diamond tennis bracelet. What? It would definitely get her attention.