Besides adding a decorative touch to your drink, garnishes should also provide integral, complementary flavors and aromas. A strategically placed citrus peel on a side of a drink that a guest can rub and squeeze will release just a touch of aroma to stimulate the senses. Edible flowers, fruit, berries, and leaves can also be used wedged between ice cubes and the glass to create overall sensory impact. I use rose petals in a similar fashion in the Blushing Rose Sangria in my book Zen and Tonic.
Cut the ends off your citrus fruit and make an incision lengthwise, halfway through the fruit. Using your thumb, separate the rind from the flesh of your citrus fruit until you have removed the entire peel. Roll up the whole peel and cut into pieces to make curly twists.
You can make attractive fans using pears, apples, and strawberries. Simply pick a fruit with a firm flesh. Slice your fruit very thinly, leaving a tail at the bottom. Spread out the slices in a fan shape. Make sure to soak your fruit in lemon juice to prevent browning.
Salt or sugar rims
Sugars and salts can be flavored with crushed flowers, herbs, and spices. Get creative! I also love to use an assortment of pink Himalayan and black Hawaiian salts and brown and flavored sugars. You’ll find that the smaller the crystals, the easier to coat the rim. For salt or savory rims, cut a slot into a wedge of lime and gently rub around the rim of a glass before coating. For a sweet rim, do the same with a syrup.
Lavender Sugar Rim Recipe
2 tablespoons culinary-grade lavender buds
1 cup coconut sugar, divided
Place the lavender buds and 1/4 cup of the coconut sugar in a blender and grind until powdery. Mix with the remaining 3/4 cup of coconut sugar and store in an airtight container.