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Garnish Like a Pro

Welcome, this week's blog will discuss simple tips and tricks to elevate your cocktail game. We want to make sure you’re set with easy ideas to impress your friends and family when they come over for a drink.  Adding a simple garnish can transform that same cocktail into something that looks craft-cocktail-bar-worthy.  These are all concepts that you should be able to use no matter your skill level of drink making with items that you might have around the house.

Adding fresh fruit slices that match with your cocktail of choice is an easy way to make your drink look photo ready. Cut your limes, lemons, or oranges in circular slices with a small slit not too shallow or deep to grasp the glass firmly.  Keeping the fruit on the glass rather than in the drink helps to keep unwanted extra juice from getting in your cocktail and making the flavor unbalanced, while also not interfering with you trying to drink your beverage.  Selecting your garnish is as easy as matching your cocktail ingredients.  Fresh berries in berry based cocktails, limes in margaritas or limeades and lemons in lemonades and teas to name just a few.

Similarly, adding fresh herbs alone or in combination with your fruit can take a cocktail to the next level. Just as you’ve seen at the craft bars, you can place a piece of the herb (mint, basil, sage, etc…) in the palm of your hand and clap with your other to release the oil of the herb before placing in the cocktails for some extra aroma.  Or take an entire sprig of your herb to push vertically into the drink to keep it upright and looking more floral.  Mint and Basil go very well in so many cocktails, but don’t overlook Sage, Rosemary and Thyme as alternatives as well.  Try not to mix and match but rather stick to one herb at a time for garnish to avoid creating off flavors and aromas.  

Rimming glasses is a very easy way to make any cocktail look professional while adding a little extra flavor to each sip. To properly rim your glass you’ll need a plate/saucepan wider than your glass, salt/sugar, a wetting agent, and of course your glass. The best wetting agent is a lime or lemon. Slice up your lemons and wet the edge of the glass. Pour your salt or sugar onto the plate and spread it out. To get a perfect rim, either dip the glass or roll it into the mixture. Make sure to shake off any excess to prevent a mess and create a nice finished look.

Good ideas to use as rimming mixtures could be salts (especially kosher salt), sugar, cocktail rimming salts that can be found at the store, or mixtures of spices with salts if you want to give a nice spice or kick to the drink (example; chili powder and salt works well on Margaritas for a nice kick) You want to make sure your rimming mixtures aren't too coarse or fine to ensure they stay on the glass.

Lastly, the peel on any citrus fruits can add a nice finishing touch to any cocktail and can help prevent wasting the rind. Try thinly peeling the rind you want to use (using a household potato peeler) and adding it on top of the drink.  A nice piece of citrus zest can add a nice aroma of the citrus oil without putting any unwanted flavors into your cocktail.  Use a toothpick to put through the piece of peel to help it stay on the top of the glass.  You can also carve these pieces of peel into your own designs to match your event at home.

We hope the next time you’re hosting a cookout or dinner party; you’ll test out some of these tips and tricks to impress your friends and family!