What do you mean it’s not summer? Well, here in Central Florida the days start out hot and end up muggy, so I am declaring an early jump on bikinis, big floppy hats, and fruity cocktails meant to be sipped on the beach. There is no way I am waiting for June 20th.
My husband happens to have spent a majority of his working life as a bartender, so I may have a little more affection for the aesthetics of my drinks. I definitely drink with my eyes first. As much as I enjoy popping a little paper umbrella in my drink and pretending I’m in Blue Hawaii, I much prefer my cocktail garnishes to actually do something; I like to use fruit, herbs, and the occasion vegetable that plays well with other flavors. We normally like to drink something fizzy and crisp when we are by the pool or at the beach, like a mojito topped with champagne. Decadent? Yes. Oh yes.
Here are some of our favorite ways to spruce up a cocktail for lounging or entertaining.
With a fresh, herbal scent that accentuates lots of flavors, rosemary is the perfect choice to add another dimension to your cocktail. As a bonus, the woody stem makes a perfect place to skewer fruit: think blueberries, blackberries, or maybe a citrus peel.
Goes Well With:
- Anything with gin, especially when topped with the elderberry liqueur St. Germaine
- Vodka soda/tonic
- Whiskey Sours
Citrus Flower or Striped Citrus Wheel
This is a long-forgotten classic that just looks so divinely retro. It adds bright color and a fresh scent with minimal work. Simply use a zester, a paring knife, or a channel knife (for a little more precision) to cut out long strips of zest all around a lemon or lime going lengthwise (from tip to tip). Make sure you get rid of that weird white pith. It will look a little different depending on what tool you use, but they all make a drink look a little more special. Then you can slice it up and pop your flowers into your drink.
- Anything tropical, citrusy, or clean
- A lemon flower would look great in any whiskey drink that needs some acidity
If you aren’t putting popsicles in your cocktails, well I don’t know what you are doing with your life. Get (or make) some good, whole-fruit popsicles and simply stick them upside down into your drink. You’re welcome.
Use it in:
- Anything fruity but no too sweet since the melting popsicle will add sugar
The simple cucumber can add a touch of earthy goodness to just about anything, and it is so versatile. Slice it thin and swirl it up against the glass before adding ice or ribbon it onto a skewer. It is light, refreshing, and shakes up the expected.
- My favorite option is a gin and tonic with St. Germaine
- Anything light and clean with citrusy notes
These pretty additions can dress up tea, lemonade, or even water, making them perfectly versatile decorations for any entertaining you might do—or just a day floating in the pool.