If you thought ‘ice and a slice’ was the only way to jazz up your G&T, think again! There are a multitude of flowers, herbs, fruits and spices with which you can add flavour and flair to your gin cocktail. Here are just a few ideas to get you started on your path to a whole new world of gin garnishes.
COCKTAIL GARNISH #1: FLOWERS
Edible flowers are a fabulous way to take your favourite gin cocktail to a new level. As well as looking incredibly pretty, edible flowers will add new dimensions of flavour and texture to your tipple. Here’s our handy guide to edible flowers that you can use as cocktail garnishes.
Of course, you don’t have to drink them and non-edible flowers also make for a lovely decorative flourish in your drinks! The floral scent alone can actually enhance the botanicals in some gins. Try lacing miniature rosebuds onto a cocktail stick for a pretty addition to your tipple.
COCKTAIL GARNISH #2: HERBS
Thyme, lemon thyme and rosemary are all classic herb garnishes for gin cocktails, but feel free to experiment with others that you think might bring out the botanicals in your favourite gin.
Sage, coriander, lemongrass and basil can all complement the natural flavours in your gin and tonic, and can even be used together to create fabulous new flavour combinations.
A rosemary stalk also makes a sturdy, fragrant, eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a metal skewer or cocktail stick. Use to pin olives, fruits or whatever other extra garnishes you want to add to your drink.
COCKTAIL GARNISH #3: ICE CUBES & FROZEN FRUIT
These are so easy to make but look fabulous! Simply place an edible flower, single piece of fruit or herb leaf into each segment of the ice cube tray. Fill the tray with warm water (warm water gives you clearer ice than cold water) and pop in the freezer. That’s it!
We love the look of violas in these ice cubes; for flavour go for raspberries, blueberries, chopped strawberry or strongly scented herb leaves like sage or basil. Try to use larger pieces of fruit or flower to avoid getting little bits in your teeth!
For visual impact and flavour, these work best in a crystal-clear gin and tonic - but feel free to pop your upgraded ice cubes into any cocktail of your choice.
You can also freeze fruit without the cube - we like to use pretty peach or strawberry slices.
COCKTAIL GARNISH #4: RETRO FRUIT & VEGETABLE SHAPES
One trend that’s coming back into fashion is the use of retro fruit and veg shapes of the sort that were at the height of their fame in the ‘70s and ‘80s: think apple fans, miniature melon balls, lemon peel ribbons and carrot flowers!
Here’s our step-by-step guide to making a cucumber rose at home - we think the easiest of the bunch. The technique can be copied for use with orange or lemon peel (like the one pictured).
COCKTAIL GARNISH #5: SPICES
Cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, pink peppercorns, chilli peppers and star anise: all these spices work wonderfully in a gin and tonic or a gin cocktail. If you’re feeling nervous about what to put together, check the botanicals listed in your gin to try to find spices that naturally complement those; you can take a look at our blog post on pairing complementary flavours, too. if you’re feeling a little bolder, just experiment! It’s all about the flavour combinations that you personally enjoy, after all.
COCKTAIL GARNISH #6: SWEETS
If you’re after a bit of fun wow-factor at your cocktail party, why not try garnishing your drink with something sweet to complement your tipples? Caramelised popcorn, slices of candied fruit, striped candy canes, toasted marshmallows, candy floss and even little scoops of ice cream - in the right drink - can provide some visual flair and a tasty snack to nibble on with your drinks!
To make sure you get the balance of flavours right, it’s perhaps best to search our cocktail hub or blog for recipes that can be used for these slightly wilder garnishes.