Updated: Dec 12, 2020
Welcome back! To recap, last week we gave a rundown on the classic Boston shaker and the proper stir. If you missed it, or need a refresher, click here. Okay, ready? With your drink freshly mixed, it’s time to garnish and finish right. Be patient, this crucial step will elevate your cocktail to the next level.
Like a good blog, the garnish is meant to enhance your experience. While some are purely decorative, many serve a flavorful function in a cocktail. Though it pains us, we will skip the dissertation on plastic umbrellas and focus on four common garnishes that are most misunderstood.
Lemon Twist • Besides the artistry, a lemon peel is used to express citrus oil into a drink. This is often done by rubbing the yellow flesh around the rim or dropping the peel into the drink.
• Common Error: When cutting your peel, keep it close to the yellow surface. The white pith is bitter and will imbalance your flavors.
Flamed Orange • Orange peels are used in a similar fashion to the lemon peel. Give the rim a quick rub to express the oil and drop it in.
• Common Error: Your drink is underserved if you skip the flame. Torching the edge of your orange peel will caramelize the oils and provide a unique citrus sweetness and aroma (plus, it is a blast to watch!).
Mint • Though often muddled or cut and incorporated into the mix, mint also makes a beautiful garnish to complement your drink.
• Common Error: Prepare your leaves. Smack the mint in your palms before garnishing to release its fragrance.
Cherries • Make no mistake, cherries are rarely just decorative in a proper cocktail. They provide subtle sweetness that rounds out the intended flavor.
• Common Error: Fresh out of cherries? Do not simply omit! Add a small amount of simple syrup to your mix to make sure your drink has the sweetness the recipe intended.
Ready to see The Garnish in action? 4EG’s own Krissy Finley joins us again to demonstrate a clean peel and torch!
Finally, remember that a good drink pairs well with conversation. Whether you plan on mixing drinks for friends, or have made your way to one of our bars, a great cocktail should put you at ease.
Please mix responsibly.