Any serious mixologist will tell you that the garnish is there to engage all of the senses in blah blah blah and act as the key aromatic whatever and not to add one unless it elevates the drink somehow.
I think they can make even the ugliest drink look like a fun treat! Plus, other than fresh flora, garnishes tend to be preserved in some way, so you can keep them stocked in your bar for months at a time.
Scroll down for the easiest garnish ideas for when you're in a pinch and need to impress somebody with your hosting skills!
If you haven't yet discovered the miracle pairing that is an Espresso Martini on a Friday evening, than let me explain. It's an equal parts cocktail (read: easy) that pairs a shot of espresso with a shot of vodka and one of Kahlua -- all essential ingredients if you need a quick jolt of party readiness after a long day at the office. Shaken and topped with a few espresso beans, suddenly you're transported to a dimly lit cocktail bar playing low-fi beats and not on your pad thai stained sofa.
I tend to be a little overzealous when I buy fruits, assuring myself that this will be the week I get all my Vitamin C from fresh and natural sources. This attitude tends to leave me with a few sickly looking limes and mandarins by the next grocery run. Instead of tossing the ones that are slightly soft/bruised/dried out, chop them up and bake them at a really low temp to dry them out. We have our own fruit dehydrator and will leave the fruits to dry out in there over the course of a few days, after which we have jars of dried citrus that otherwise would've gone to waste.
Dried Pears + Apples
Same as above (and can be done with apples too!) These are also a great addition to any cheese board. Once pears and apples are dehydrated, they become almost like a fruit jerky. Nature's Fruit Roll-up, baby.
Butterfly Pea Flowers
These little flowers from the Clitoria (lol) ternatea plant are a whole little science experiment. Their bright blue colouring turns liquids a bold indigo hue. But, mix in a little citrus, and suddenly your drink will become a vibrant fuschia. It's also full of antioxidants which maybe cancel out all the booze? Idk, not a doctor.
If you don't have cinnamon sticks in your spice drawer/pantry... why? I feel like these are a staple, especially for wintertime drinks. Mulled apple cider, mulled wine, a hot toddy, steamed egg nog? HELLO people! These all taste 1000% better with a cinnamon stick (which actually in itself becomes a sort of fun straw after the third or fourth cocktail.)
Do you have any tried and true garnishes you can't live without? Let me know in the comments below!