ESSENTIAL BAR SKILLS: GARNISH
Are your garnishes up to scratch? The creativity and thought that goes into your serve’s garnish can be the difference between unforgettable flair or complete flop. We explore when to use which garnish and how to make sure yours are a cut above the rest.
Adding Theatre and Flavour to Your Serves
Although often overlooked, an inventive garnish is one of the most important components in crafting truly exceptional drinks. Not only are they visually appealing, but a creative and original garnish can also:
- Provide the perfect opportunity to add a little theatre to your final product
- Complement the drink’s ingredients and add further layers of flavour
- Maximise on presentation, elevating the drink in the eyes of your customer and setting it apart from a similar serve they might have tried somewhere else
- Showcase your skills and attention to detail
The fruits you choose, and how you garnish your drinks, has the ability to really make your venue stand out and give you a competitive edge over your competitors. With so many different trends emerging across the globe, it’s important to make sure that whichever you choose to adopt, your garnishes are executed to perfection!
Tiki – Tiki cocktails are renowned for using an array of flamboyant florals to garnish their serves – they take the word ‘garnish’ to a whole new level! Tiki cocktails have been front and centre of garnish innovation and continue to push the boundaries.
Vintage – In the past, the main goal was to make sure that nothing went to waste and to recycle every ingredient where possible. If a lemon was used in the cocktail, then you can be sure it was used as a garnish as well.
Modern – As the importance of the garnish has increased rapidly over the years, the world of the garnish has become more open to a huge variety of weird and wonderful inventions. Today, anything from dried flowers all the way to gold leaf can be found adorning serves.
Fresh is Best
It may seem obvious, but using higher quality fresh fruit and herbs in both your serves and as your garnish will result in better tasting and more visually appealing drinks. Pre-packed, lower quality fruits can have a dramatic impact on the final product and can even cost you sales in the long run.
Local produce comes with the built-in perception of freshness and quality. So, make connections with your local food wholesalers, markets and greengrocers and emphasise how you want to make a real point of difference for your outlet by being more adventurous.
Have back up supplies of fruit to cover each shift and store these in suitable containers in the fridge. Mint leaves, once washed and prepared, should be wrapped in a dampened paper kitchen towel and kept in the fridge to keep them fresh.
Which Fruits to Use and Why
Always use fresh fruit without obvious imperfections. Limes, lemons and oranges are a great option, as citrus fruits provide colour, flavour and that all-important zing of acidity.
Here are some simple rules to keep you right when it comes to garnishes:
- Orange for orange-flavoured drinks
- Lemon for lemon-flavoured drinks
- Lime for all other serves
When crafting your garnishes, a sharper knife is easier to use and is safer than blunt blades, so having a good sharpening tool at hand is essential to ensure that utensils are ready for use at all times.
Using the right knives in the right way makes your job easier. It’s recommended that bars should have the following:
A small knife
For slicing, taking the ends off citrus fruits and dealing with softer fruits that are more likely to bruise.
A large knife
For dealing with large fruits, such as pineapples, grapefruits etc.
A chopping board
Good quality, washable toughened plastic is the best choice.
How to cut garnish
- Lime, 6 wedges.
- Lemon, 8 wedges.
- Orange, 16 wedges
How to cut a twist
• Make a cut using the channel
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(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)
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