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3 Classic garnish ideas to elevate your holiday drinks - even if it just a sparkling water

Posted by Jaime Fowler on

You probably don't know this about me but I'm a crazy person when it comes to entertaining and not in the cute way. I love to have people over but I don't like to be center of attention. I like to serve cocktails but I don't want to play bartender - because of the attention thing. I want Pinterest worthy food and drinks and will spend hours getting a cheese board just right but I really don't like the pressure of cooking for other people. I like to set things up in advance and then let the party flow organically. Basically I'm all over the map which is way I like to pick a few things that are easy and then do them up right. It satisfies my need for a photo worthy gathering while also not having to be in the spotlight all night.

One of my favorite things to do is to dress up the drinks, whether that is canned cocktails or booze-free sparkling waters. Adding a garnish immediately elevates any drink and sends us the signal that something special is happening. As cliche as it sounds, this year more than ever, focusing on the little things is a simple way to bring joy to yourself and to the people you are (responsibly) spending time with this holiday season. 

So for the next few weeks I'm going to bring you some of my favorite drink garnish ideas. Remember you can use these on adult beverages, La Croixs, Diet Cokes, whatever floats your boat. The idea is just too add a little something extra.

To kick us off, this week I'm focusing on a few classic garnishes. Take these ideas and make them your own and then come back next week for decadent dessert garnishes that are a totally different way to make your drinks special. 

But first, the classics...

Classic: Cherry + lime

Christmas Stocking Swizzlys with lime and cherry garnish

This might be the most classic garnish combo on the planet - especially when you use these bright red maraschino cherries. The lime + cherry color combination is perfect for the holidays and it is a pretty versatile garnish that will work on a lot of drinks.

To garnish the canned drink below I cut a decently thick slice of lime into quarters to get a wedge and topped it off with a cherry.

Pro tip: If you are using a Swizzly for cans, make sure you attach the Swizzly to you can first and then slide the garnish on second. The garnish + drink marker will stay in place while you sip your drink.

Holiday drink markers for cans - Christmas stocking Swizzlys with lime and cherry garnish

There are so many ways to mix it up when you are using cherries and lime as your garnish. You can use dark morello cherries that you can get in a jar from Trader Joes for a richer cherry flavor. You could use bourbon cherries for an adult alternative - your local liquor store probably has some pre-made or you could even make your own. Plus, you can slice your limes in a variety of ways to change up the look.

Pro tip: If you want to use a full lime wheel, make sure to cut it super thin so it will be flexible enough to bend into place. To replicate my lime wheel garnish, slide your Swizzly through the lime wedge right next to the rind, keeping it near the pointed end for now. (You'll gently moving the lime plus cherry up the stick as you go.) Slide your cherry on next and then wrap the lime wheel around the back side of the cherry, poking the Swizzly through again right next to the rind to hold the whole thing in place.

Cherry and lime garnish ideas using holiday Swizzlys

I like to pre-make several garnishes in advance that way they are ready to pop into drinks as soon as people arrive. It's fun to have different arrangements of the same garnish and you can have more pieces precut and available in case someone wants to diy their own.

Fun twist: Lime + berries

Glitter "cheers" cocktail sticks for cans - the Swizzly

Skip the cherries and try a berry instead for a slightly fancier garnish. I was originally going to use fresh cranberries for this post but I wasn't able to find any at my grocery store - don't they know Thanksgiving is in a few weeks?!!? I real like the idea of using cranberries this time of year and it's a different way to stay in the red and green holiday theme. But this blueberry lime combination totally works to. The sweetness of the blueberry balances out the kick of the lime and it is totally Pinterest worthy.

Pro tip: Don't forget to add your Swizzly on your can before you garnish and slice your lime super thin to replicate this folded lime wheel.


Unexpected: Cucumber + berries

This garnish is perfect for anything in the "spa water" category whether that is a vodka tonic or a sparkling seltzer. This super easy yet impressive looking garnish will elevate the drink and make it fancy enough for any party.

To make this garnish you'll need a vegetable peeler to create these long cumber ribbons. It is easier than it looks I promise. I ran the peeler lengthwise down the cucumber with light pressure to remove the first layer of peel. Then from there I applied slightly more pressure to create the ribbons. I paired mine with blueberries because that is what I had on hand but blackberries or raspberries would be great too. 

Pro tip: When you are ready to put your cucumber ribbon and berries on your cocktail pick make sure you don't push it too far down initially. It is easier to make the loops even if you keep everything near the pointed end to start and then gently push it up as you go.

"Cheers" cocktail sticks with garnish using The Swizzly to hang garnish from the rim of the glass

I hope this post has gotten you started thinking of garnish ideas for your upcoming Thanksgiving. Our social lives are taking a hit this year so hopefully doing a little something extra like this will make it slightly better. 

Don't forget to come back next week for dessert garnish ideas!

If you'd like to pick up any of the Swizzlys I used in this post, they are available in my shop. Click on the photos below to head over to my shop to pick them up for yourself or as a gift for your favorite cocktail lover. Cheers!

Shop The Pursuit of Cocktails barware

Christmas Stocking Swizzlys:

Glittery "Cheers" Swizzlys:

garnish Ready-to-drink cocktail review

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