Learn How to Professionally Garnish Cocktails and Smoothies

Cocktails and smoothies are incredible drinks. They come in all kinds of flavours, styles and colours. You can have alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, based on what kind of an occasion it is and what you’re in the mood for. A pool party is probably going to be even better with a couple of margaritas or mojitos, but for a family brunch you’re probably better off with a fruit smoothie.

If you’re someone that regularly enjoy a cocktail or a smoothie, we assume you noticed something fun and unique about them and that’s garnish. Garnish is what separates an average drink from an excellent one. Sure, the taste is the most important factor, but the presentation is something you can’t forget about.

If you thought about getting into mixology or making smoothies, you should probably think about upgrading your garnish skills. Don’t worry, even though it seems hard, making garnishes is actually pretty easy and inexpensive and we’re going to prove it to you. We’re going to teach you how to garnish your cocktails and smoothies like a pro. Let’s get started!

The Beginner Level 

The Fruit Slice

We’re going to start of slow. The simplest garnish you can use to decorate and present your cocktail or a smoothie is a fruit slice. This was the go-to garnish for most cocktails for ages, before bartenders didn’t decide that you need to get creative. All you need for this garnish is fruit of your choice, preferably the one that matches the drink and a knife. Cut up the fruit in slices and use that as a garnish. How you want to present it is up to you. You can place it onto the rim of the glass, cut through it and hang it off of the rim or just clip it to the glass with a mini garnish clip. This is best used for simple cocktails like Cuba Libre or Gin and Tonic and will work with any kind of smoothie. Nice and easy!

Garnish Pin

Next up, we bring in some tools. The garnish pin is great way to decorate your drink in more than one ways. You’ll usually find garnish pin used in cocktails like a Martini, where you’d pierce an olive with it. However, you can use pins pretty much everywhere, but it does work best with cocktails served in Martini, Margarita or a Coupe glass. Garnish pins work great with peels and small fruit, but you could easily use fruit slices with garnish pins, as well.

The Intermediate Level

Dehydrated Wedge

One of the latest trends in the garnishing world is using dehydrated fruit, more precisely dehydrated fruit wedges, mostly lemon and orange. Before you try and DIY some wedges in the oven, we have to tell you that no matter what you see online, you’ll never get the same results as you would with top rated commercial food dehydrators, so keep that in mind. 

Basically, you cut up any fruit you want, you put it into dehydrator and you get yourself a nice, modern garnish. Great thing about this one is, unlike fresh fruit wedges, these ones can last you a really long time and just like fresh fruit wedges you can snack on them after you’ve finished with your drink. These ones work with pretty much any glassware, but they do work the best with simple ones like Old Fashioned, Highball, Collins or a Coupe glass.

The Peel

Peels are a great and cost-efficient way to garnish your cocktail or a smoothie. Since most of these drinks don’t include the peel in the recipe, you can use the peel to decorate the drink. What’s great about the peel is that you can style it in many different ways to create a perfect decoration. You can do thin stripes, you can do twists or any kind of custom shape you’d like – you just have to get creative. If you need inspiration, you can find it online and borrow a couple of tricks from bartenders on Instagram or other social platforms. These will work on any type of glass with any type of cocktail.

The Expert Level

When you reach the final level, you’ll be able to use all of these techniques and ideas and put them all together. At this point, you could be using edible flowers and all kinds of fresh plants to garnish your drinks. You can get as creative as you want at this point. Use fried bacon strips if you’re making a smoked cocktail or make a butterfly out of orange peel and fresh mint – it’s entirely up to you.

As you can see, there is more than one way to garnish your cocktail or a smoothie. What’s more important is that there is no right way to garnish a cocktail – you get to decide what works and what doesn’t, as long as you’re not mixing up flavours and aromas that don’t really work well together. Other than that – you’re free to experiment as much as you like.