For cocktails, presentation is everything. Competition is fiercer than ever before and patrons are as demanding as ever. People pay for a craft cocktail because they want to be amazed. Luckily, entertaining customers is what bartenders do best.
The same applies to home bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, those who love being perfect hosts and take pride in making great drinks for friends and family. There’s no reason why homemade cocktails can’t look and taste as beautiful as the ones you can get at upscale restaurants, fancy hotels and trendy speakeasy bars.
In case you need to add variety to your garnish game, we’ve put together five garnishes trending right now. How many do you use already?
Edible flowers of all colors and sizes have long been part of the kitchen repertoire, although, with its restrictions, flowers are expensive! Anyhow, flowers have made their way to bars and are not going anywhere. Baby’s breath, Lavender, Orchids, Pansies, Hibiscus, Roses and Marigolds are some of the more popular choices.
We must issue a warning. Not all flowers are safe to eat or to use as garnishes for food or drinks, some are quite dangerous. Even edible flowers, if not sourced adequately, can have residue from chemical sprays like pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides and fungicides to name a few.
Although floral garnishes are pretty, it’s use them or toss them since they only stay fresh for a few days.
2. Food (other than olives)
One of our favorite garnishes are things to nib on. Olives are good and stuffed olives are even better, but food garnishes have become bolder and more extravagant in the last few years. It’s not rare to see a crispy bacon strip or a mini-burger on a stick decorating your Bloody Mary, which elevates the customers’ experience massively.
Cookies, macarons, slabs of chocolate bars, and cotton candy are splendid choices for sweeter concoctions, and when done right, they’re much appreciated by patrons.
The downside is that food garnishes are costly, some must be stored in a controlled environment to prevent spoilage and need either lots of preparation or the cooperation of the kitchen.
3. Dehydrated Citrus
Fresh lime wedges and orange wheels are not as attractive as they were a few decades ago. They represent considerable waste too, and that’s bad for the environment and for business.
Dehydrated citrus wheels have come not only to substitute fresh citrus garnishes, they’re an important upgrade. The best dehydrated citrus wheels are all-natural, locally sourced, free of chemical sprays, handcrafted garnishes that are both appealing and subtly aromatic.
If you want to make an impact with a garnish that won’t break the bank and that has a long shelf-life, dehydrated citrus garnishes are for you. And it’s not only lemon, clementines, blood oranges and grapefruits to mention a few.
4. Other Beautiful Dehydrated Garnishes
When it comes to local, sustainably grown, shelf-stable garnishes, why stop with citrus fruit? Some of the most intriguing cocktails are decorated with dehydrated apple slices, pineapple flowers, pear slices, dragon fruit wheels and persimmons, anything that’s in season is fair game.
Seasonality matters more than ever before; the guests can tell. And with the incredible produce grown in California, there are plenty of colorful fruits to choose from!
5. The glassware
We might not think of glassware as a garnish, and it’s not. But to make an impression, the right glassware is as essential as the garnish and the cocktail itself.
Standard glassware is a disservice for the works of art coming out of today’s craft cocktail bars, but glassware companies are catching up. From retro designs to more than unusual stemware, there are endless options to make a special cocktail look the part.
Have You Spotted New Trends?
The amazing world of drink-mixing is ever evolving and that’s an exciting thought. New cocktails are invented every night in all corners on earth and there’s always a new way to embellish them - garnishes matter, now more than ever.
Local, all-natural garnishes are here to stay, what’s exciting is seeing how the talented bartending community will use them!
There’s no excuse for home bartenders, novices and seasoned pros to not step up their garnish game, and that’s a win for all of us.