Why Some Bartenders Use Cookie Cutters When Making Drinks

Shaker, mixing glass, bar spoon... cookie cutter?

Cookie cutters might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of barware, but pro bartenders attest that they can bring your garnishes up to the next level. Whether you're going for understated elegance or playful chic, consider busting out your baking supplies next time you whip up a cocktail.

Rather than sticking to the standard citrus twist, use a cookie cutter to slice a sliver of lemon peel into a unique shape. Consider flavors that would pair well with your drink — perhaps pineapple, honeydew, or pear — then use cookie cutters to cut thin fruit slices into bite-size pieces. Remember: garnishes aren't just about aesthetics but can round out the sensory experience of a drink on multiple levels, adding a textural or aromatic element as well.

If you're planning on making cocktails for a crowd, cutters are an easy way to prepare creative garnishes ahead of time. Keep in mind that cut fruit won't stay fresh forever, though. When preparing for a big event, soak pre-cut fruit in water with a splash of lemon juice to keep it fresh for hours.

Cookie cutters aren't just for cutting

Cutting cocktail garnishes into playful shapes might not be how cookie cutters are supposed to be used, but they don't necessarily have to be used for cutting at all: they have other unique uses behind the bar. Use them to stencil playful shapes onto the foamy top of a cocktail like an amaretto sour or espresso martini. Dust your spiced clementine sour with cinnamon in the shape of a star; garnish a clover club cocktail with a raspberry powder heart. 

But that's not all. If you're looking for a truly unique ice mold, cookie cutters can come in handy, too. Place them on a baking sheet, then fill them with water — ideally, when the tray is already in the freezer to avoid sloshing. Once the water is fully frozen, remove the tray from the freezer, carefully jimmy the shapes from their molds, and plunk them into your drinks. This is a great way to use tools you already have and gives you an opportunity to get creative and, above all, have fun.