10 easy cocktail garnish ideas
From cocktail cherries and fresh fruit to fragrant cinnamon, clever fruit ribbons and even chocolate, here are 10 easy cocktail garnish ideas to give your drinks a boost
Want to make your cocktails (and mocktails!) look bartender-worthy? Adding a simple garnish to your drinks at home instantly elevates them to feel extra special, and adds flavour and aroma.
Whether you add a chocolate wafer straw to drink your cocktail through, bake mini biscuits to sit on the edge of a glass or simply finish an espresso martini with coffee beans, there's a world of ways to garnish your drink. But a cocktail garnish doesn't need to be complicated – our top 10 easy cocktail garnish ideas can be added to a glass in seconds for instant ways to impress guests and feel like you are in a fancy cocktail bar. From fresh fruit to herbs, flowers and clever flavoured rims, there's ideas and flavours for adding to drinks at all times of year.
See more easy cocktail inspiration with our top 10 fun cocktail ideas to get you started. Check out our drinks reviews for round-ups of the best vodka, gin, rum, whisky and much more so that your cupboard is cocktail ready at all times.
1. Citrus peel twist
A twist of orange or lemon peel perched on the edge of a glass is an instant way to make a drink look smart. This works brilliantly on festive drinks such as our mulled wine cocktail or spice 75 (an allspice-infused twist on a French 75), but is also found on classic cocktails like a cosmopolitan and rum old fashioned.
2. Cinnamon stick
A fragrant cinnamon stick is a perfect addition to winter cocktail recipes, especially ones served warm, as it will release it's gentle spiced aroma as it sits in the drink and infuse your cocktail. Our hot buttered rum has ground cinnamon in the drink and a stick to garnish, whilst a few cinnamon sticks make a great addition to a jug of winter Pimm's punch. If you don't have cinnamon sticks, try a Coquito finished with just a pinch of ground cinnamon.
3. Chocolate rim
Guaranteed to please people with a sweet tooth, an extra helping of chocolate is a truly indulgent way to finish a cocktail. A grated chocolate rim is the easiest way to dial up chocolate flavour with every sip. Use water, lime juice or maple syrup to dampen the edge of the glass and dip in chocolate. This chocolate orange cocktail uses dark chocolate for a striking contrast to the orange drink, or go super sweet with a white chocolate martini dipped in grated white chocolate. For ultimate decadence, try our mudslide cocktail where each glass is dipped in melted dark chocolate for a thick drip effect round the rim.
4. Dried orange slice
If you have a bag of dehydrated orange slices tucked into the cupboard with your alcohol, you'll have a cocktail garnish on standby at all times. Dried orange (or try lemon or lime) adds a subtle flavour to your drink and makes an elegant finishing touch. You can buy them or use our recipe, then add to a sparkling cava cocktail or a rich salted caramel pecan sour.
5. Cocktail cherry
It's a classic for a reason! A bright cocktail cherry adds a retro finish to any cocktail, as well as a touch of sweetness. Our classic tequila sunrise and hurricane cocktail recipes wouldn't be complete without this final addition. In a cherry bakewell cocktail, the cocktail cherry pairs with the cordial for the true taste of dessert in a drink.
6. Sugar and salt rim
A sugar or salt rim might look fancy, but it's a doddle to do and is sure to impress drinks party guests. Most commonly found on a margarita, all you need to do is dampen the rim of your empty glass and dip in a plate of your sugar or salt mixture to coat the edge. You can also add extra flavours to your salt like spices, desiccated coconut or citrus zest. This festive cranberry margarita combines salt, sugar and lime zest, while our spicy margarita adds coriander and chilli flakes to pack a punch.
7. Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit is a super easy, colourful way to finish cocktails and can also be used to signal what flavours are in your cocktail. The opportunities are endless here: go for a fun wedge of watermelon on the edge of a watermelon daiquiri or sprinkle berries through a raspberry mojito. Zesty citrus adds some tang – a juicy orange slice is classic on a sex on the beach, thin lime slices balance the floral notes in our elderflower spritz recipe, or highlight the grapefruit juice inside a greyhound cocktail with a wedge of fresh grapefruit.
This isn't just for summer either: in autumn, try our spiced apple snaps fizz with thin slices of apple sprinkled with cinnamon and held together on a cocktail stick.
8. Fruit ribbons
A step on from simple sliced fruit but still quick and easy, create ribbons of fruit and veg for an elegant effect. This is most commonly done with cucumber: simply peel the whole length of a cucumber to create delicate strips to add to cocktails and mocktails. Try it in our English garden cocktail with gin, elderflower and apple juice. It's not just cucumber either: our rhubarb & custard cocktail is garnished with thin strips of rhubarb that are peeled and then dropped into ice water to make pretty curls.
Fresh herbs take no effort and will make your cocktails smell amazing as you drink them. In spring, try sweet and floral lemon thyme scattered over an elderflower gin fizz. Cooling mint adds extra freshness to summer drinks on hot days: a Moscow mule and mint julep both need a generous amount of fresh leaves. Unexpected herbs can also make an appearance for chic garnishes: a Poinsettia is finished with a delicate bay leaf, while a complex pomegranate rosemary spritzer infuses pomegranate juice with earthy rosemary before being garnished with a full sprig.
10. Edible flowers
In spring, edible flowers are a pretty cocktail garnish. Simply scatter them over a rich and creamy white rabbit cocktail with lemon curd, amaretto and vanilla for a pop of colour. Pair with herbs for a full garden effect – this green juice pisco sour is topped with flowers and coriander sprigs. If you've got time to plan ahead, why not freeze flowers into ice cubes? We've used them for pretty effect in our prosecco & elderflower cocktail and our elderflower & herb cooler, and they'll keep your drinks cold for longer, too.
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