How to Garnish a Bar Drink

Bartenders serve bar drinks with specific garnishes based on the liqueur, juice or soda content, style of drink or customer request. Garnishes add a hint of flavor and enhance the presentation of a cocktail. Preparing garnishes by cutting or skewering them and placing them in a garnish tray saves time while mixing drinks. Keeping a backup tray of garnishes in a refrigerator, and refreshing trays during down time benefits bartenders, as the pace of drink orders picks up.

Things You'll Need

  • Garnish tray
  • Toothpicks
  • Pearled onions
  • Green olives
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Mint leaves
  • Celery
  • Pineapples
  • Strawberries
  • Miniature umbrellas
  • Whip cream


    • 1

      Skewer pearled cocktail onions on toothpicks. Place the pearled onion skewer in a martini.

    • 2

      Skewer the green olives onto toothpicks and serve them with dry and dirty martinis that contain gin or vodka, and dry vermouth. Add olive juice, if the martini is ordered extra dirty.

    • 3

      Use maraschino cherries to garnish sweet martinis that contain gin or vodka and sweet vermouth, Manhattans, midori sours, frozen pina coladas and Shirley Temples.

    • 4

      Garnish drinks that contain soda water, tonic, sour mix or lemon-lime mixes, or sodas such as margaritas, cosmopolitans, strawberry daiquiris and rocks drinks with a lime wedge.

    • 5

      Garnish lemon-flavored martinis, Long Island ice teas, bloody Marys, rocks drinks and lemonade-based cocktails with lemon wedges or wheels. Slice the rind off a lemon and add it to a vodka martini or cocktail ordered with a twist.

    • 6

      Add orange wheels or wedges to tropical frozen drinks and orange juice-based drinks such as mimosas or tequila sunrises.

    • 7

      Muddle and garnish mojitos with mint leaves.

    • 8

      Add a piece of celery to a Bloody Mary so that the celery protrudes from the glass.

    • 9

      Garnish frozen tropical cocktails such as pina coladas and daiquiris with a skewered pineapple wedge, cherry and orange or a fresh strawberry, depending on the drink ingredients. Add a small umbrella.

    • 10

      Top frozen drinks such as mudslides, coladas, daiquiris or hot coffee-based drinks with whip cream.

Tips & Warnings

  • Slice lemons, oranges and limes into 1/8-inch circular slices. Cut a slit in one end and place the fruit on the side of glass. Cut strawberries in half, add a slit and place on the side of a glass or in a whip cream garnish.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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