How To Choose The Right Size Cocktail Pick For Your Favorite Drinks

Picks are the detail that really ties a cocktail together. Aside from being an aesthetic embellishment, cocktail picks serve a practical purpose, holding any number of garnishes from olives to cherries and pickled onions to chilled prawns. Propped against the edge of the glass (or laid carefully across), these minuscule tools often feature a decorative handle and a thin and long spear. The question is, does size matter when it comes to selecting the correct cocktail pick?

Since every tipple is unique, serving glasses will invariably differ. As a result, that means that skewer size will also vary. Generally for drinks like Paper Planes, Cosmopolitans, and Whiskey Sours that are served in shallower glasses (coupe, martini, or rocks glasses) a smaller four-inch pick will do the trick, whereas cocktails like a Michelada, Zombie, or Piña Colada that are served in deeper glasses (tumblers, highball, or Collins glasses) will benefit from a six-inch pick.

In addition to assessing glassware, selecting the correct size pick also means considering the number of garnishes meant to embellish a cocktail. While the single cherry that's meant to decorate a Manhattan will require a shorter pick, a fully loaded Bloody Mary needs something a bit lengthier. But, even beyond analyzing size, there are a few other elements to ponder when determining the best cocktail pick for your favorite drinks.

How to choose the perfect pick

Once you've determined the proper-sized cocktail pick for your drink of choice, the next thing to consider is material. For example, plastic or the more eco-friendly bamboo makes for a cheap and effective single-use pick, meanwhile, glass and steel picks may be reusable, but come at a cost. Likewise, resistance to rusting and ruining, along with the ability to be easily cleaned are also important traits to think about when selecting a cocktail pick.

Naturally, based on the overall look and vibe of a cocktail, pick choice can also vary. Although many decorative options exist, certain styles may work better with some cocktails than others. That said, elegant and chic tipples like a Gibson or Rob Roy pair well with a minimalist pick that's adorned with simple steel spheres, plain glass beads, or tiny geometric shapes. In contrast, eye-catching drinks like a Bahama Mama or booze-free Shirley Temple are made for flashier picks. Anything from colorful beads to animal heads to little swords can be a fun addition.

Despite the fact that it's a good idea to have a range of short and long picks if you plan to stock your bar cart with just one variety, we recommend selecting four or five-inch stainless steel cocktail picks as these will be a good fit with a majority of cocktails, and are made to last. Just remember to choose a style that's versatile enough for both elegant and funky tipples.