If you are looking for cocktail inspiration, look no further. In today’s market, there are over 100 gins to choose from, each with a completely different flavour palette – so, why would you garnish a serve to change its taste? In this article we will be looking at everything related to garnishes – from what a garnish is, all the way to what ones we would recommend to add to your serve.
What Exactly Are Garnishes?
A garnish is a finishing touch that you add to your favourite gin cocktail that makes it extra tasty – whether that be a fruit, herb or even a vegetable. For example, we are probably familiar with a lemon wedge, or even a slice of lime as one the most classic of garnishes, but what if we told you that you could get more experimental with it? Grapefruit is a delicious addition for summer cocktails, or, if you are holding a get-together where you need to ‘wow’ your guests, then might we suggest some edible flowers?
What Does A Garnish Do For Your Gin Cocktail?
Now we’ve established what a gin garnish is, let’s talk about what it needs to do for your serve. Picking out your final garnish can either make or break your cocktail. No matter if you are serving a simple G&T, or maybe even something a little more complex like a gin martini, having the perfect accompaniment is a must. So, how do you know that you have picked the right garnish?
First things first, it needs to harmonise with the gin itself. Before garnishing, you should take a moment to taste your gin, looking at all the ingredients used, and the complex flavours that are currently at play. All gins come with a flavour, that will need to be built upon. You wouldn’t have a garnish that clashes with the already existing flavours. For example, our No.6 tin has notes of cinnamon, ginger and rhubarb. With so many ingredients already in play, you only want a garnish that will blend accordingly. For this fruity number, we would recommend orange zest to be the garnish. Rhubarb and orange work well together as they both have fresh sharp flavours which pair well with the rich sweetness – ideal for summer cocktails.
On a similar note, you also want a garnish that will balance your gin of choice. By this, we mean that you can add a new flavour which isn’t already present, or directly compliment one that is. For example, our pink pepper, cardamom and coffee tin, otherwise known as No. 16, has a lovely balance of these ingredients. If you are looking to garnish a cocktail using this gin, we would recommend garnishing a coffee bean and ice. This will bring those strong, and bold flavours even more forward.
However, if you would like to add a flavour which isn’t already in the gin’s tasting profile, then you will want to find a herb, fruit or vegetable that complements it. Gin No.9 has flavours of apricot, elderflower and orris root. We would recommend garnishing with orange peel, as this will draw out that lovely apricot flavour even more.
Finally, garnishing your drink should be decoration. Whilst you want your gin garnish to be functional, there is something to be said for a nice-looking cocktail. When picking a garnish, think about adding a pop of colour, and even, what glass you are going to serve it in!
Our Top 3 Favourite Gin Garnishes
1. Lemon & Lime So Sublime
A slice of lemon or lime is a classic and for good reason. If you are for a simple, no-nonsense garnish, then a wedge of citrus is definitely the answer. For all your at-home, end-of-day G&Ts, we would recommend something like this.
The juice of both lemons and limes has a healthy dose of citric acid which works really well with most gins. This acidic taste helps to cut through the juniper and will bring freshness to your glass.
2. A Slice Of Grapefruit
Next up, and in a similar realm to lemon and lime, is grapefruit. Most gins have a citrus or botanical tasting palate which means that using a garnish which is also citrus-based can enhance the flavour. However, you have to be careful – adding too much citrus can make your drink taste bitter, and even overwhelm the rest of the serve.
We recommend trying just the peel in a beverage, or in this case, a slice of grapefruit. Most fruity gins can be improved with a slice of pink grapefruit – such as our gin No.2 for example. This gin is made with lemon peel, cardamom and coriander – which makes the perfect combination to add grapefruit too. We recommend serving this gin with a tonic of your choice and garnishing with a thin slice of grapefruit.
3. Herbs: Thyme & Basil
As gin drinkers, we can sometimes forget that herbs also make for a delicious finishing touch. For gin cocktails, we recommend trying out basil or thyme. Our gin No.12 is the ultimate autumn blend and includes notes of pumpkin, peel and nutmeg. Any serve with this gin would benefit from having a sprig of thyme.
Basil is also an underrated garnish in the gin world. Above, we talked about how lemon and lime are a classic for a reason, as well as being a no-nonsense and seemingly easy go-to when it comes to gin garnishes. However, basil is just as simple and will add a Mediterranean twist to any G&T. If you have a more savoury gin, you can also add a slither of fresh ginger.