Crafting garnishes for home-made whiskey cocktails may seem like hard work in your head, but they’re actually incredibly easy and fun to make! All you need is a chopping board, a sharp knife and a few cocktail sticks and you’ll be well on your way to impressing whoever it is you drink cocktails with.
In this article we’ll talk you through step-by-step how to make some stunningly simple whiskey cocktail garnishes at home - like this lime mint cup.
Of course you’ll be needing some Irish whiskey to go in those cocktails, so check out Malones Triple Cask Irish Whiskey – it makes a stunning whiskey cocktail that deserves a lovely garnish.
There are plenty of different fruits that make great Irish whiskey cocktail garnishes. Lemons and limes are a sure choice as citrus and whiskey are a match made in heaven, as proven by the Whiskey Sour cocktail. A splash of citrus with Malones Triple Cask Irish Whiskey will balance its sweetness and allow the complexity of the flavours come to life.
Apple also makes a wonderful garnish for any whiskey cocktail, in particular an Old Fashioned. Apple is one of the key tasting notes in Malones Triple Cask Irish Whiskey, its Appletizer and cream soda notes are complimented beautifully by a fresh apple garnish.
It’s not all about the fruit when it comes to garnishes though – mint is also a popular one that can be used creatively to make your whiskey cocktails stand out from the crowd.
The most important thing to remember is that perfection is overrated – your citrus twist may decide to dive straight into the cocktail rather than perching obediently on the rim of the glass – but who cares? The whole point of garnishes is to add character to the drink! Besides, the twist will still keep its shape and your whiskey cocktail will be infused with even more citrus goodness. You can’t go wrong.
Now we’ll demonstrate step-by-step how to make some easy whiskey cocktail garnishes at home.
A citrus twist is a simple cocktail garnish that adds an extra touch of sophistication to whiskey cocktails. It’s really easy to make – and it’s not just for show: the citrus oils that infuse the drink add that all important zest!
Lemons! (Or your choice of citrus fruit)
A pencil (or something similar to wrap the peel around)
Begin by peeling off a slice of lemon peel long enough for a couple of twists. Make sure the piece of peel you use includes some of the white pith, this will ensure the citrus twist keeps its shape.
Clean up the edges of the piece of peel with a knife and make a small slit about 2cm long in the centre of the peel. Then wrap the peel around a pencil and hold in place for around 15 seconds. Slide the peel free and the twists should keep their shape.
Finally, carefully place the citrus twist on the rim of your glass, using the slit to balance. In the case that your citrus twist isn’t playing ball and decides to dive into your whiskey cocktail, don’t worry! It will still keep its shape and look beautiful, and those delicious citrus oils will be released into your drink all the more quickly!
Begin by slicing the apple almost in half, but missing the core – you’ll have a wedge of apple to work with.
Tip: Rotate the wedge 90 degrees either clockwise or anticlockwise before slicing, as you’ll end up with straight slices rather than curved ones giving a sharp look to the final result.
Trim the edges of the wedge leaving the thickest middle section where the curve of the apple peaks. Then cut 5 or 6 thin segments. Keeping them all side by side, slide a cocktail stick through the segments around a quarter of the way up from their pointed ends.
Now all that remains is to delicately fan out the slices and place the cocktail stick on top of your glass.
We recommend making apple fans to garnish a smooth Old Fashioned made with Malones Triple Cask Irish Whiskey. See the recipe here.
You can also give fan garnishes a try with other round fruits – firm plums are a great one!
Lime flowers are a zesty alternative to edible flowers when it comes to cocktail decoration, not only do they look impressive, they add lots of flavour since every part of the lime is used.
They look especially pretty in whiskey cocktails due to the contrast in colour between the beautiful amber liquid and the refreshing green of the lime.
A sharp knife
Start by cutting small wedges out of a whole lime, making sure the bottom of the lime is facing towards you. While doing this ensure to insert the knife at an angle and don’t cut too deep into the lime – you’re knife shouldn’t hit the centre of the lime, as this is what will keep your finished flower held together. Imagine you are cutting out shallow triangles, leaving space in between each one.
Cut out 5 or 6 of these triangular wedges at even intervals around the circumference of the lime. The amount you cut will depend on the size of the lime.
Then rotate the lime 90 degrees and slice off the ends so that you’re left with the thicker middle section of the lime. You should be able to slice this into 3 or 4 lime flowers – the petals defined by the triangular cuts you made earlier.
This one can take a couple of tries to get right – but house guests will love the effort you’ve put in to making their whiskey cocktails look just right!
Lime Mint Cup
Fresh lime and mint are a timeless cocktail garnish combination, adding flair and flavour to an already refreshing whiskey cocktail.
This little lime cup makes the perfect perch for a sprig of mint, and it’s ridiculously easy to make!
Begin by cutting a wheel of lime from the centre of the fruit. Once you have your wheel, make one cut from the edge, stopping when the knife reaches the centre. Take the 2 sides of the lime wheel that are separated by the cut and pull one side underneath the other – this will cause the centre of the wheel to go down, and the sides to come up, creating a cup effect.
Slide a cocktail stick through the bottom of the cup, making sure to pierce the two overlapping sides to keep them in place. With the sharp end of anther cocktail stick, make a hole in the flesh of the lime wheel, just off centre. Finally, insert a sprig of mint through the hole and balance the cocktail stick across your glass.
This garnish has the tendency to unbalance itself – just like us all after a few whiskey cocktails – so placing the cocktail stick off-centre on the glass is your best bet!
Our tasty serves featuring Malones Triple Cask Irish Whiskey are perfect for practice your garnishing skills with – check them out here. Happy garnishing!