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4 weird and wonderful fruit garnishes for cocktails

Leonardo da Vinci didn’t forget to frame the Mona Lisa. So, you shouldn’t forget to add a garnish to your expertly-crafted cocktails. They’re works of art, after all. A fruit garnish can elevate your drink from an enjoyable tipple to a memorable, multi-sensory experience. When done right, that is. 

Discover these four weird and wonderful garnishes (and garnishing methods) to take your cocktail from okay to outstanding.

The usual suspects

If we’re talking fruit garnishes, it’s pretty difficult to ignore the citrus family. They’re the mainstay of glass-rims the world over, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be presented in exciting ways. Here are a few ways to elevate your oranges and lemons.  

  1. Doing the twist

If you’re worried you’re not getting enough out of your orange garnish, try a ‘coin twist’. By cutting a section of skin from the orange and retaining some of the pith, you’ll be able to give it a squeeze over your drink to release its oils. If you’re feeling theatrical, you can ignite the oils with a match when squeezing it. 

Rub the skin around the rim before dropping it in your drink, and you’ll have infused the entire cocktail with zesty orange flavour. 

  1. A sweeter treat

A candied orange or lemon peel brings a sweet edge to the citrus zest we know and love. Depending on the drink, it can be a great way to balance out bitter flavours or elevate sweet ones. Here’s an example that pairs candied peel with an orange whisky sour. Delicious! And, far more interesting than a run-of-the-mill lemon wedge. 

If you have a spare few hours, you can make your own. Here’s a recipe to get you started. Check out our stock of oranges and lemons for the key ingredient – or get adventurous and try using one of our grapefruits!

Further afield

Citrus makes a great garnish, but it takes extra work to justify calling it ‘weird’. Here are a few fruit and veg garnishes that step up the strange, but taste just as amazing.

  1. Berries and spice

Raspberries don’t look out of place at the bottom of a champagne flute, and strawberries have graced many a daquiri glass. Pairing fruit with herbs and spices, however, can take cocktails to the next level. 

Try combining strawberries with peppercorns, mint or basil for a few layers of flavour, or juniper berries with rosemary or thyme for a ‘Spanish gin and tonic’. While we’re on G&Ts, Sipsmith recommends trying a stick of rhubarb or some lavender as well. 

  1. Light it up

If you’re looking to think outside the box, it’s time to do away with the fruit and go straight for the tree. Wood smoke has become a popular way to ‘garnish’ meatier whisky-based cocktails like the Old Fashioned, with apple and cherry trees providing some of the most fragrant choices. Smoke guns made for the job are easily found online. 

If you want to add a smoky, savoury flavour without the equipment, burning rosemary and trapping the smoke in a glass or cocktail shaker can work just as well. Here’s a great example.   

Time to experiment

Excitement lies beyond old limes and soda. We’ve given you a few ideas to get you started, but it’s just the beginning. There’s a world of vegetables, flowers and even human toes(seriously) to discover, so take your cocktail shaker in hand and set out on the path to mixological mastery. We’ll supply the fruit and veg, you’ll supply the imagination. 

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