The Difference Between Cocktail Garnish Wedges And Crescents

Cocktails aren't complete without a garnish. Traditional as this final touch may be, garnishes are actually there for a reason. Along with adding an element of allure and charm such as the case with a little umbrella, most edible garnishes such as tried-and-true citrus can also work to improve the flavors and aromas of a drink. However, if you've ever wondered why certain drinks are topped with a lemon or lime wedge, rather than a daintier crescent, know that the decision was very much intentional.

Aside from a physical difference in shape, the reality is that citrus wedges serve an entirely different purpose than that of a crescent. Essentially, where crescents are used mainly for aesthetics, wedges are used for function. Given that sliced citrus is more delicately cut, sleek crescents (and also wheels) are usually rested on the edge or inside of a glass with the goal of adding a pop of color and just a touch of flavor.

Wedges, on the other hand, are used to give cocktails a level of customization. Juicy and malleable enough to squeeze, a wedge allows whoever is imbibing the opportunity to heighten a drink's sour flavors or balance any sweetness. That said, while the option is available, cocktails that are served with a wedge of lemon or lime should still be delicious even without the additional hit of acid should someone choose not to squeeze the wedge.

Which type of cocktails you should use a wedge or crescent for

Whether citrus is cut into wedges or crescents, always opt for brightly colored fruit that's virtually spotless. Additionally, you should also consider which citrus will best complement the cocktail at hand. For example, limes are a winning match for a margarita whereas lemons are ideal for a Tom Collins. Grapefruit can be the perfect partner for a Paloma, in contrast to oranges which are great when paired with something like a Screwdriver.

When it comes to selecting between wedges and crescents, think about how the flavors of a cocktail will evolve with the addition of acidity. If you don't want to impart significant changes, but still add a level of intrigue, then crescents and wheels are the answer. Use these garnishes for any number of highball cocktails like scotch and soda or even a bubbly drink like Hugo Spritz.

Despite the fact that wedges can also be added to highball tipples that lack a bit of punch or even bland beers, there's also an opportunity to add them to drinks made with a sour mix such as daiquiris or margaritas. Likewise, even a zesty Moscow Mule can benefit from a lime wedge. Whether you're team wedge or team crescent, one thing is for sure, the garnishes are sure to wow no matter the tipple.