Is there anything more discouraging than finding a great cocktail recipe you want to create right away, only to discover you’re short either one or more key ingredients? Sure, you could experiment with the ingredients you already have, but the results will never be the same.
We’ve all been there, which is why a well-stocked bar is a DIY bartender’s best friend. But doing so entails more than just collecting booze and mixers. The most popular garnishes should always be on hand because the perfect one may make or ruin a cocktail.
Add these essential garnishes to your grocery list for a perfect drink on the weekeends.
Martinis are as classic of a cocktail as you’ll find anywhere, and olives are a cornerstone of the dirty martini that should be in every bartender’s portfolio.
Limes may be the most versatile and widely used of all cocktail garnishes. They top off a margarita, gin and tonic, rum and Coke, Moscow mule, and so on. You could use a lime wedge to top a Deep Eddy vodka soda, or even just a Corona if it’s more of a beer type of night.
The lemon twist is a cocktail garnish that’s growing more and more popular, for instance in some martinis. It’s better to keep the full lemons in your stash rather than making the twists ahead of time. Not only could the twists dry out, but you want the lemons around anyway because lemon juice is such a common mixer.
Is any margarita complete without a well-applied rim of salt? We think not. Alongside Hotel California Tequila Blanco, it will set you up for the perfect margarita.
A cucumber wheel is a perfectly classy garnish for a wide range of cocktails. Try it on your next gin gimlet, for example, and taste that nice crisp flavor.
You might be surprised how many cocktails use rosemary as a refreshing, beautiful garnish. Try it in a vodka gimlet for example, especially during the spring or summer when you’re feeling earthy.
Who doesn’t love cinnamon? Cinnamon sticks are delicious garnishes, especially for sweet cocktails. They’re particularly frequent flyers in Christmas-themed drinks, so at a minimum, be sure to stock up before the winter holidays roll around.
The fact that mint has such a light, refreshing flavor makes it one of the greatest garnishes out there. It’s a staple for mint juleps, Moscow mules, the great El Encanto Silver Rum mojito, and so many other favorites.
Other than a few signature rarities, the Bloody Mary is probably the only cocktail you’ll be making with a celery garnish. Still, if you’re a Bloody Mary fan, your cocktail isn’t complete without it.
If you enjoy a great martini, the natural next step is to try your hand with a Gibson. It’s very similar to a martini, with most of the same ingredients as Sȏng Cái Vietnam Dry Gin, but with cocktail onions as the garnish.
Maraschino cherries are downright delicious, so it’s no wonder why they’ve become such popular garnishes. You’ll need them for old-fashioned, Manhattan, and so on. Cherries are particularly common for whiskey cocktails, so between Maraschino cherries and some Evan Williams Single Barrel whiskey, you have the start of a delicious drink.
Building Your Garnish Stash
Certain garnishes have become true staples in the cocktail world, and for good reason. To outfit your bar to handle any cocktail you want to make, keep the garnishes above in stock so they’re ready at a moment’s notice.