All About Cocktail Garnishes

comment 1
Cocktail facts & history / email

When life gives you lemons, make a lemon drop.

Many cocktails call for a garnish, like a citrus twist or maraschino cherries. And it’s not just for looks — a garnish can really make a difference in your cocktail. Think of an old fashioned without an orange peel, or a mojito without mint leaves or lime. It’s just not the same.

Here are some tips to pick the best cocktail garnishes:

  • Citrus: Vodka-based cocktails tend to pair well with lemon and lime flavors. Tequila and rum go well with limes. Avoid citrus garnishes for cocktails with milk or cream.
  • Cherries: Maraschino Cherries pair well with any cocktail with grenadine. They’re also used with Collins mix, in Manhattans, and in some drinks with Sweet and Sour mix.
  • Olives: The quintessential garnish for Martinis. The traditional type of olive used is a green olive, like the Spanish Queen or Green Barouni olive. Do not use olives in a fruity martini.
  • Twists: A twist is a floating garnish consisting of a thin oval of a citrus peel. It adds flavor to the cocktail with the aromatic oils concentrated in the peel. Use a citrus twist in a Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop, and Long Island Iced Tea.

Depending on the kind of garnish you choose, you may need some equipment. We recommend a channel knife for cutting citrus ($8) and a zester and stripper tool ($6). 


Photo credit: 

1 Comment

  1. Deanna R. Jones says

    Thanks for the tips! I’m hosting a cocktail party, so I need to know all about different garnishes that will go with the right drinks. I have a lot of friends who love Manhattans and rum based cocktails. It’s a good thing that you differentiated that a cherry should be paired with cocktails that have a grenadine and that citrus fruits should pair with rum based cocktails. Knowing that will help me get all of my friends drinks right when they come over for the party.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *