8 Beautiful Garnishes That Will Take Your Cocktail to the Next Level

Elevate your cocktail game with these creative garnishes.

4 cocktails showing selection of cocktail garnishes
Photo: Steven Karl Metzer

There are times when you want more than a lemon slice or a lime wedge in your drink. Whether you're hosting a cocktail party or simply indulging in a relaxing drink at home, a creative and beautiful garnish can add an extra touch of style and complete your drink.

From rosemary sprigs with berries to edible flowers and colorful rims, we have plenty of inspiration to help you elevate your cocktail game. But don't worry, we're not here to overcomplicate things. "Let the ingredients speak for themselves and don't try so hard," says beverage and wine consultant and educator David Lombardo. "Usually, too much is too much."

Lemon Twist With a Twist

Making the perfect lemon twist is not as hard as it looks and can easily be done with just a pairing knife. It looks and smells good as is in a drink, but taking inspiration from recipe developer Adrienne Blumthal, we like to add a single edible flower in a coordinating color to really take it to the next level.

  1. Start by slicing a lemon into ¼-inch rounds (discard the ends).
  2. Make a split into the peel, then carefully remove the peel from a lemon slice.
  3. Twist the peel around something cylindrical (like a straw or your finger) and drop it into the cocktail.
  4. Gently place an edible flower on top of the drink.

This garnish is perfect for a Lemon Drop or a Lemon Martini.

Blackberry and Rosemary Sprig

If this isn't a show-stopper, we don't know what is. An added bonus is that this cocktail garnish only requires two ingredients—and very minimal effort. Try with a Blackberry Crush or a whiskey sour.

  1. Thread 2 or 3 fresh blackberries onto a whole rosemary sprig.
  2. Place the garnish in your drink with the blackberries and rosemary leaves sticking out.

Pro Tip: To release the rosemary oils for a more concentrated taste or aroma without overpowering the drink, lightly smack the back of your hand with the sprig or place it in the center of your hand and give it a smack with your other hand.

Cilantro and Lime

A simple yet classic combination, and one we highly recommend for a margarita or mojito. Decorate your glass with your usual sweet or salty rim, then once the drink has been poured, drop in a few small cilantro sprigs and a lime slice.

Funfetti Rim With a Maraschino Cherry

If your taste in cocktails leans sweet, we're here for you with a rim of funfetti and chocolate sprinkles.

  1. Lightly dip the rim of your glass in melted white chocolate, then into a mixture of sprinkles.
  2. Pour the cocktail into the prepared glass and stick a cherry on the side.

Note: if the drink is already very sweet, skip the chocolate and use water to wet the glass so the sprinkles will adhere.

Orange Peel and Fresh Cranberry Skewer

citrus dreaming cocktails and copper cocktail shaker
Mike Krautter

In our Citrus Dreaming (Aperol Negroni), the cocktail is garnished with a simple yet elegant orange-cranberry skewer. To make this you'll need a cocktail pick, orange twist, and several fresh cranberries.

  1. Stick the cocktail pick through one end of the orange twist, then thread on 3 to 4 cranberries.
  2. Twist the orange peel around once, then stick the cocktail pick through the other end.

If you're hosting guests, this is a wonderful make-ahead cocktail garnish.

Cucumber Ribbons

Cucumber not only adds a hint of freshness to a cocktail but also adds a nice pop of color. Try one in our Pineapple-Cucumber Spritz, where the cucumber ribbon is purposefully placed along the inside of the glass for visual impact. To make your cucumber ribbons extra thin, we recommend using either a vegetable peeler or a mandolin.

Red Chili Pepper Garnish

If you like a little kick in your drink, try this spicy cocktail garnish inspired by a drink at While We Were Young in New York: A small red chile pepper paired with a spicy, salty rim. Use a mixture of chili powder, pink Himalayan salt, and black salt for the rim—and to switch it up, rather than rimming the edge of the glass, partly dip the outside of the glass in the salt mixture instead. Once the glass is rimmed and the drink mixed and poured into the glass, all that's left to do is float the chile pepper on top.

Ice Cubes With Flowers, Fruit, or Herbs

spherical ice cubes and infused ice cubes
Steven Karl Metzer

Ice cubes are an underrated yet innovative way to up the ante with your drinks, but making them does require you to plan a few hours ahead (or better, overnight). Fill ice cube trays as usual, then drop in an assortment of edible flowers, herbs, berries, or even slices of cucumber or chile peppers. If you need inspiration, Leslie Kirchoff—a cocktail consultant and founder of Disco Cubes—has more than you could ever need. She uses ice cubes as an opportunity to add an extra layer of art and sophistication to her drinks and fills them with a variety of fruits and seasonal botanicals.

The options are endless, try rosemary ice cubes in a gin and tonic, or add flower ice cubes to a glass of rosé.

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