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Fun Facts about Cocktails and Garnishes

Most people know that a cocktail consists of a combo of spirits mixed with tonic water, fruit juices, syrup, or herbs and adorned with some sort of garnish. A garnish, is an embellishment or ornament (edible or inedible) that is used to decorate or flavor a food or drink. Since cocktail and garnishes are part of the holiday festivities it’s fun and interesting to learn about them as well as enjoy them this time of year!

So why do we garnish cocktails? The reason for this is to add visual appeal and flavors by adding small elements that give the presented drink a unique look and appetite appeal. There are so many fancy cocktail garnishes to choose from and they’re a lot of fun to create even if you’re not a professional mixologist. The garnish and the glass it’s in create a complete visual and tasting experience, here are some of the most classic and popular drinks and their respective garnishes:

Margarita Did you know that the Margarita is considered the most popular cocktail ordered in America? It’s been at the top of the list for years. There are all kinds of Margaritas you can order, but the traditional one contains Tequila, triple sec and lime juice with the rim of the glass laced in kosher salt. The garnish for this refreshing cocktail is a lime and it is either served on the rocks or frozen.

Cosmopolitan The Cosmopolitan became a huge success in the 90’s thanks to the hit show Sex and the City. There is debate about who exactly invented it, but some believe that it was in South Beach in the 80’s and it’s target audience initially was geared to women. Cosmos are simple to make and are bright and citrusy. They’re made up of vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice. They’re garnish is either a lemon slice or or lime wheel.

Martini The martini has been around since the late 1850s or early 1860s. One account of its invention sites that “professor” Jerry Thomas, a famous 19th century bartender invented it at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. Of course, we cannot forget about the fact that James Bond helped popularize this cocktail in 1962 where it appeared in the first Bond movie, Dr. No. The martini is made with gin or vodka, dry vermouth and garnished with either an olive or lemon twist. Some people even like them with cocktail onions. However you prefer the martini it’s a potent cocktail not made for the faint of heart.

Old Fashioned The old fashioned also became popular around the same time as the martini. It’s made by muddling (a bartenders tool used to mash fruit, sugar, herbs or spices) with bitters, water and whisky. It’s then garnished with an orange slice or zest and a cocktail cherry. It’s served “on the rocks” in what else…a rock glass!

Daiquiri The daiquiri has a way of almost transporting you on a Caribbean vacation! This vintage cocktail was invented in a small beachside village town named Daiquiri in Cuba in the 1890s by an American engineer named Jennings Cox. He was working there during that time in the mining industry and came about creating the daiquiri one night when entertaining he ran out of gin. So, he did the next best thing and decided to add the spirit most available there, rum! He then made a punch poured it over ice and topped with mineral water. Today’s daiquiri has changed a bit and is often served “frozen” by blending in a mixer with rum, citrus juice, sugar and fruit juices and garnished with fruit or lime slices. It’s somewhat like a fruit smoothie, although the original Daiquiri is simpler and with just rum, lime and sugar.

There are so many more cocktails with decorative garnishes you could create that we could go on forever, but no matter what your preference remember to enjoy your beverages responsibly and have a festive holiday season!

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