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The Sipsmith Blog

15 Unusual Gin & Tonic Garnishes You Must Try

in Articles October 28, 2016

Remember when the main conversation surrounding gin and tonic garnishes was whether lemon or lime was the better option?

How far we’ve come since then. Today – influenced in part by garnish-heavy Spanish G&T culture – it’s become the fashion to top up your tipple with all manner of culinary and botanical ingredients. From herbs and spices to fruit and vegetables, seemingly nothing’s off-limits for the adventurous home bartender who is looking for creative gin cocktail recipes.

Grab a copa glass, then, find some top-quality tonic, and read up on these unusual gin and tonic garnishes. It’s the fastest way to give your G&T a personality all its own.

1. Lavender

Lavender is so much more than your auntie’s preferred soap scent. In moderation, lavender is warm and wildly aromatic, a scent memory of Provencal summers. If you like your gin and tonic garnishes on the floral side, don’t stop there: edible flowers are also an increasingly popular – and visually impressive – garnish.

2. Rosemary

Powerful, robust rosemary adds a deliciously savoury note to any G&T. Thanks to the herb’s piney flavour profile, it also plays very well alongside the juniper.

3. Cinnamon Sticks

The sweet spice of cinnamon is a potent flavour addition to your G&T, so be sure you’re using a gin that can hold its own. Just don’t be tempted to use your cinnamon as a swizzle stick – you don’t want your G&T becoming under-carbonated after a few idle stirs.

It’s the fastest way to give your G&T a personality all its own.

4. Peppercorns

Peppercorns are commonly seen in Spanish G&Ts, bobbing amidst the ice cubes. You can opt for black peppercorns for a bit of a savoury kick (paired with strawberries for a summery twist); or go for the numbing heat of Sichuan peppercorns for a truly unusual gin and tonic garnish.

5. Star Anise

Not only is star anise an incredibly versatile spice – it works well in both sweet and savoury contexts, and has a bit of a menthol kick to it – but it’s also one of the prettiest. Throw a few in your glass for a G&T that’s pretty as a picture.

6. Tomatoes

Some detractors have accused Spanish-style G&Ts of looking like salads, and the addition of tomatoes won’t do anything to convince them otherwise. But when paired with a few basil leaves (slapped against the back of your hand to release aroma), nothing is more summery.

7. Lemon Thyme

If you’re a tippler who’s always come down on the lemon side in the great garnish debate, then consider adding a few sprigs of lemon thyme to your G&T. The end result should be equal parts lemony and herbaceous.

Save this one for a special occasion. Vanilla works well with gins that have luscious, buttery mouthfeels.

8. Vanilla Pods

Save this one for a special occasion. Vanilla works well with gins that have luscious, buttery mouthfeels – and adds both sweetness and sophistication to a G&T.

9. Apple

After a G&T that’s lightly sweet, delicate, and floral? Apple should be your garnish of choice, arranged in a delicate fan. Be sure to spritz with a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from browning.

10. Lemongrass

Add a touch of exoticism to your G&T with a few lemongrass stalks (strip away the tough exterior layers to reveal the tender and fragrant core). Complement with a handful of coriander for an extra dose of freshness.

11. Pink Grapefruit

Grapefruit may be the most delicious citrus fruit of all in a G&T: you’ve got sweetness, acidity, and a hint of bitterness that perfectly plays off your tonic.

12. Strawberry

Strawberry isn’t just a delicious gin garnish on its own – it also plays well with a number of other ingredients, from basil and pepper to elderflower and mint. Choose your own combination – there are no wrong answers.

13. Juniper Berries

If you’re a true juniper obsessive, then why not add even more to your G&T? A small handful of juniper berries is your secret weapon.

14. Rhubarb

Gin and tonic garnishes don’t get much more British than rhubarb (paired with London Dry Gin, naturally). Fruity, with a touch of tartness, it’s a natural in a G&T. Take a vegetable peeler to your rhubarb stalk for beautiful crimson ribbons that you can swirl along the inside of your glass.

15. Frozen Peaches

What about a garnish that also doubles as a cooling agent (and which won’t lead to over-dilution)? We love swapping out a bit of ice for frozen peach wedges in our summery G&Ts.

 

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