CREATIVE MULES SERIES
Welcome to the third and final week of our Creative Mules Series, Guide to Garnishes! Let’s quickly recap. The first week, we talked all about How to Make Infused Vodka. Then last week we dove into making our own Flavored Simple Syrups. If that’s not already a great start to making your own Creative Mules, today’s post is all about how to create the perfect garnishes to make your mule look just as stunning as it tastes. Let’s dive in!
Although there are endless possibilities for cocktail garnishes, there are a few ingredients and techniques that you’ll come across more often than not, so today we’re going to focus on those. Specifically, we’ll be talking about twists, wedges, vegetables, freshly grated whole spices and rimming.
Twists are both a fun way to add a little extra flavor to your drink and make it look like it was crafted by a professional mixologist. Most commonly made with the peels of citrus fruits — not the white piths — the act of creating the twist by bending the peel in a circular motion doubles as a flavoring agent by expressing some of the peel’s oils into the cocktail.
Here’s how to make a twist:
Wedges are probably the easiest garnish to master, and have great functionality as well. After all, if you’re served a cocktail with a wedge, you’ll most likely grab that wedge first thing and squeeze it into your drink for that extra hit of flavor. Like twists, wedge garnishes are typically made with citrus fruits, although you can also often find pineapple wedges gracing the rims of popular tiki drinks.
Here’s how to make a wedge:
Fresh herbs are a fun, easy way to make a cocktail look vibrant and lush. They add a beautiful scent and flavor to an already delicious drink and require next to no skill to make. You’ve most likely seen abundant sprigs of mint adorning our beloved mules, but other herbs such as fresh sage, rosemary or basil have also made their appearance on the cocktail scene. When using herbs as a garnish, always be sure they’re as fresh as possible for maximum impact (and the best-looking cocktail!)
Here’s how to garnish with fresh herbs:
Vegetable garnishes are typically used to adorn the likes of Bloody Mary’s and martini’s, although with today’s mixology trends you can find them as garnishes in a plentitude of cocktails. Any Bloody Mary lover will tell you it’s not a Bloody Mary without the signature stalk of celery, and the two camps of olive- or onion-garnished martini-lovers are starkly defined.
Here’s how to make vegetable garnishes:
Although it’s pretty rare to see whole spices garnishing a cocktail, bartenders and mixologists will often grate them over a drink to add an extra dimension of flavor. Some of the most common freshly grated whole spices include nutmeg, star anise and cardamom. They are a perfect addition to cocktails that feature an egg white foam or any sort of whipped cream. You’ve probably also seen a whole cinnamon stick peeking out of certain cool-weather drinks such as hot toddies.
Here’s how to garnish with whole spices:
Most commonly seen in the form of salt gracing the edge of your margarita glass, rimming is a garnishing technique used in drinking establishments worldwide. It may seem like too much trouble at first, but once you break down the steps and realize how easy it is, you’ll see how it can truly transform a drink. In addition to salt, sugar is another common ingredient used for rimming.
Here’s how to rim a cocktail:
Although this is a very basic crash course in garnishes, you should now have all the tools you need to at least start venturing into the world of building your own Creative Mules. You’ll find that once you start experimenting with different flavor combinations, you won’t be able to stop!
For some ideas to get you started, be sure to check out our Mule of the Week series featuring mules from some of the best bartenders around the world.
Also, be sure to head over to Moscow Copper Co. for all the equipment you need to really step up your creative cocktail-making game.