12 Fancy Cocktail Garnishes You Can Make In Your Kitchen

How-To Guides

Cocktail-making Implements and Ingredients

How often have you been out for dinner with friends or family and ordered a drink? How often has it arrived without any garnish on the side of the glass? This is because many people don't know how to cut them! 

Garnishes are an essential part of cocktails. They add color, texture, and flavor that can't be replicated by anything else. Not only do they look pretty - they also help your guests enjoy the drinks that you serve them.

In this blog post, we will teach you how to make a cocktail garnish at home so that you can enjoy them with your loved ones!

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1. How to Make a Citrus Twist

Bartender Removing Peel from Lime at Bar

This cocktail garnish is an elegant addition to any cocktail. It is on the more delicate side and is made by twisting a small strip of citrus peel. 

It's typically served with lemons and oranges, although a lime twist can also be a fantastic choice. Except for the peel, the fruit will stay whole and can be juiced, reducing waste.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Take a whole fruit and place it in the palm of your hand.
  2. Using a channel or a paring knife, cut into the citrus peel until just deep enough to be able to grab a sliver of the white pith.
  3. While holding a paring knife (blade facing towards you), slowly and evenly cut the fruit in a rolling manner (turn the fruit away from you). Stop when the peel has reached a suitable length or has been entirely cut off.
  4. Squeeze the peel over your drink to release the citrus oils. As a result, it will impart a lovely citrus scent.
  5. Roll the peel into a spiral as tight as you can without breaking it, then gently squeeze it. When you let go, it will loosen up a little.

Here’s a tutorial on how to make that Citrus Twist:

2. How to Make a Citrus Wheel

A woman cutting lemon slices

The citrus slice, or citrus wheel, is the most straightforward garnish to make. It only takes one cut per garnish, and you may get many slices from a single piece of fruit. 

The key is to avoid making your slices too thin or thick; small cuts are fragile, while thick slices are too big for most glasses.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Cut the fruit into 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick slices with a paring knife.
  2. For the fruit to smoothly slip to the rim of the glass, cut the fruit from the edge to the center of each piece.
  3. Remove the seeds from each slice with care.

Watch this video to know how to make that citrus wheel:

3. How to Make a Citrus Wedge

Slicing lime

Citrus wedges allow the person to squeeze more juice into the drink while also providing a consistent citrus flavor with each sip.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the fruit in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut a slice in the center of both halves without cutting through it or into the peel.
  3. Cut the fruit in half in the middle, then make diagonal cuts in each piece to create four wedges, one at a time.
  4. Clean up the wedge by clipping away the interior white pieces and scraping off any seeds.

Here’s a video showing how to make that Citrus Wedge:

4. How to Dress the Rim of the Glass

A quick method to add a little flair to almost any cocktail is to dress the rim. A sugared rim works nicely for a sweeter cocktail. A salted rim is the better choice if your cocktail is a little stronger, like a margarita.

You can also experiment with different spices that complement the flavors of the drink, such as cinnamon, chili powder, cocoa powder, or even smoked salt.

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What You'll Need

  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Fruit wedge or juice
  • Small plates

Directions

  1. Prepare the seasoning that you will be using. If you are going to use a mixture of seasoning, mix it evenly on a small plate first.
  2. Depending on what your recipe needs, rub your favorite fruit wedge around the rim of your cocktail glass. If you are using a fruit juice like orange juice, pour it on a small plate, then dip the cocktail glass flat onto the plate.
  3. Gently but firmly press the cocktail glass into the prepared seasoning on the plate.
Pressing glass to a plate

Pressing glass to a plate - Image by thecookful.com

Here’s a video showing how to dress the rim of the glass:

5. How to Make Dehydrated Fruits

making dehydrated fruits

Dehydrated fruits have a distinct and appealing appearance. It cuts down on overall preparation time and has the added benefit of having a longer shelf life.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Turn on your oven, then set it to the lowest setting.
  2. Slice your fruit thinly. To avoid crisping the edges, do not cut it paper-thin. To ensure that they all dry at the same rate, keep the thickness as uniform as possible.

Cutting a fresh lemon

  1. If desired, add any herbs or spices of your choice.
  2. Place the sliced fruit on parchment paper and place it in the oven.
  3. Every half-hour or so, check on the fruit. The overall time depends on how hot your oven is and what fruit you're using, but it typically takes at least a couple of hours.
  4. Store the dried fruit garnishes in a firmly sealed glass jar, biscuit tin, or freezer bag. It's okay to keep it at room temperature, but it's preferable to keep it cool and dark.

Here’s a video showing how to dehydrate your own fruit:

6. How to Make a Coin Twist

The coin twist is a simple cocktail garnish that adds a sophisticated aesthetic to your drink. It is also simple to make. It's essentially a coin-shaped chunk of fruit peel. Oranges and grapefruits are two commonly utilized fruits for this.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Cut a coin-shaped portion of peel from the fruit. Cut it without slicing through the fruit.
  2. Gently squeeze the peel with the pith facing you to release the oils into your drink.
  3. Rub the peel on the glass rim lightly.
  4. Drop the peel into the drink.

Here’s how you can make a coin twist:

7. How to Make a Citrus Boat

With just a slice of citrus fruit, you can simply build a citrus boat. The skewer will rest on top of the glass rim and is an excellent way to jazz up various drinks. It's simple to create and adds a dash of color to the garnish with a cherry.

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What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Cut a slice of the fruit, then cut a slit from the peel to the middle.
  2. Form a tiny funnel out of the piece.
  3. In the center, place a cherry.
  4. Combine the two fruits on a skewer.
Skewered Citrus Boat

Skewered Citrus Boat - Image by thespruceeats.com

Here’s a video showing how you can make a cool citrus boat:

8. How to Make Cucumber Ribbons

A cucumber ribbon is a lovely and fashionable way to use fresh cucumber as a garnish. This straightforward garnish can be prepared in a variety of ways, although skewered is the most common. 

Cucumber ribbons pair wonderfully with the classic gin and tonic, as well as any other cocktail that includes cucumbers.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Cut the cucumber lengthwise into long thin strips with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife.
Cutting cucumber
Cutting cucumber - Image by thrillist.com
  1. Use a cocktail pick to spear the ribbon, or skip the skewer and just fully immerse it in your drink.

Here’s how you can create your own cucumber ribbons:

9. How to Make Apple Flowers

Apple slices make an unexpectedly gorgeous rose. Any cocktail will definitely appear lovely and spectacular when the flower shape is completed, skewered, and positioned in the glass.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Slice the apples using a mandoline slicer or knife and simmer them in a blend of lemon juice and water over low heat.

Slicing the apple thinly

  1. Once the slices have cooled, curl one piece to form the center, then wrap each slice around the center to create a rose.
  2. To keep everything together, use a skewer.

Here’s a video showing how to make your own apple flowers:

10. How to Make Sun-Shaped Citrus Slices

This is a unique and entertaining garnish to try, especially in the summer or over brightly colored cocktails. You can try this with other citrus fruits, although oranges and limes work particularly well.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the fruit in half.
  2. Cut a 1/4-inch thick slice off both halves.
  3. Make diagonal cuts inside the slice and remove some pith for a cleaner look. We recommend you use shears, but you may also use a knife.
  4. Turn out the inside section of the fruit gently.
  5. Attach it to a smaller slice of fruit to fill the now-empty space left by the original cut.
  6. Attach it to the glass's rim.

Here’s how to make sun-shaped citrus fruit slices:

11. How to Make Candied Cranberries

When you soak scrumptious cranberries in simple syrup and then coat them in granulated sugar, they become much more fascinating. 

Wrap one or more of these candied fruits in an orange peel and stick it on a metal skewer; each end of the orange peel should be pierced through the skewer to form a half-moon shape.

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What You'll Need

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil to make the simple syrup. Remove it from the heat once the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Allow the sugar syrup to cool for five minutes before adding the cranberries to the syrup. Allowing it to cool entirely.
  3. Refrigerate the cranberries and syrup in an airtight container for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours).
  4. On a plate, pour the remaining sugar. Drain the soaked cranberries thoroughly before tossing a few cranberries at a time in the sugar, covering them entirely.

Bowl with Tasty Sugared Cranberries on Wooden Background

  1. Place the coated ones on a baking sheet and set them aside for at least an hour before serving.
  2. Candied cranberries hold for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container before softening.

Here’s a video showing how to candy your cranberries:

12. How to Make Iced Fruits, Herbs, and Flowers

cocktail with Flower Ice Cubes composition

Another great way to fancy up your cocktail is to freeze fruits, flowers, or fresh herbs in ice. You may even use them to chill your cocktails with this method. They'll add a lovely splash of color to your glass. When the ice melts, it'll release some flavor.

What You'll Need

Directions

  1. Fill an ice tray halfway with water and top with berries, fruit slices, edible flowers, or fresh herbs.
  1. Place them in the freezer until everything is completely frozen.

Here’s how to ice fruits, herbs, and flowers for your cocktails:

Conclusion

Whether you're a bartender or just someone with a home bar, garnishes are an essential part of cocktails. They add visual appeal to your drinks and add extra excitement to your guests when you serve them.

Have you tried creating your own garnish for a drink? Let us know in the comments!

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