The Art of the Cocktail Garnish
Eight ways to up your cocktail game
"Garnishes are an expression of a bartender's style," says Shinya Yamao of New York's Piora.
"My garnishes are very simple, but they act as a sub-ingredient for the cocktail," says Yamao, who stopped by TT HQ to show us how he cuts and arranges his twists on the twist.
Here, a few more inspirations for our next cocktail at home:
① Spice sachet. Billy Sunday, Chicago: Think of this as potpourri for your Harvey Wallbanger. Alex Bachman throws juniper, yarrow, lavender, star anise, vanilla, mace and cedar in a burlap swatch and clips it to the coupe to evoke Galliano's aroma.
② Watermelon spheres with mint and citrus. Piora, New York City: Yamao gets meta with a garnish on a garnish--the balled watermelon is topped with a mint sprig and lemon and lime tassels for his rye-bolstered Wear and Tear.
③ Orange slice. Piora: All you need is a sharp knife and nimble fingers for this delicately scored garnish.
④ Infused strawberries. Bourbon Steak, Los Angeles: How do you enhance whisky without compromising its flavor? By torching strawberries that have been macerated in crème de cacao, then slipping them under a glass to infuse them with the lingering smoke.
⑤ Lemon slice. Piora: Yamao carefully cuts around the pith of a lemon slice to perch on the glass' lip.
⑥ Scored orange peel. Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago: "By scoring the citrus before carving off a swath, the peel retains its oils, which contribute to the cocktail's fragrance," says Paul McGee. Plus, the texture mimics the bar's decorative carved wood tikis.
⑦ Lemon barrette. The Brooklynite, San Antonio: Local bartenders compete in informal "Garnish Wars." This triangular bad boy was Jeret Peña's winning move.
⑧ Beet rosette. Pouring Ribbons, New York City: The golden beet garnish serves as a visual contrast for the burgundy-hued Action Bronson and echoes the rose-infused whiskey it's made with.