The majority of cocktails are decorated in some form or other, from a single olive
placed in a Martini, to a veritable fruit salad in a summery Pimms.
The peel of citrus fruits such as oranges, limes and lemons may be cut into thin
strips to create a 'twist'. To do this, simply hold one end of the peel with one
hand (coloured side down), and twist and squeeze the strip with your other hand.
This will release the fruit's aromatic oils into the drink. The twisted peel can
then be dripped into the drink.
Lemons and limes may be cut into wedges and used to squeeze into drinks or to moisten
the rim of glasses before frosting with salt or sugar. The may also be simply be
placed whole on the rim of the glass to allow guests to add extra juice to their
drink. To do this, cut the fruit into 8 wedges lengthwise, adding a slit in the middle
so you can place the wedge on, not in, the glass.
Citrus fruit may also be cut into slices or 'wheels' and placed whole into drinks
or cut in half again with a slit in the middle so that they can be positioned on,
not in, the glass. Try to make the slices about 0.5 cm thick - anything thinner will
be too flimsy.
Fruit garnishes are used not only to add visual impact but also to add an extra element
of flavour. Always make sure that the fruit you use is in good condition and has
been thoroughly washed .
Maraschino cherries are one of the most popular cocktail garnishes, and may be used
in almost any recipe. In addition to the traditional red Maraschino cherries, there
are also green, yellow and blue varieties available. Spearing the cherry onto a cocktail
stick along with another fruit (such as an orange slice) turns it into a garnish
known as a 'flag'.
There are a wide range of other garnishes that may be used for cocktails, including
Celery (use for Caesars and Bloody Marys)
Coffee beans (use for Sambuca)
Cocktail onions (use for Gibson Martinis)
Olives (use for Martinis)
Sprigs of mint (use for Mojitos and Pimms)
Although you should always aim to use only high quality branded products, you should
avoid using a quality malt Scotch whisky unless a recipe specifies it. A blend will
usually suffice in a mixed drink.
Make sure that all ingredients are in perfect condition, particularly fruit, which
should be freshly sliced, or juices, which should be freshly squeezed.
Store mixers such as soda water, lemonade and juice in the fridge before using to
ensure that they are cold before adding into your drinks.
If you are squeezing lemon or lime juice, make sure that you sieve it to remove any
pips. If you are adding to an otherwise transparent cocktail, you may want to sieve
it through a fine cloth.