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The Sipsmith Blog

15 Unusual Gin & Tonic Garnishes You Must Try

in Articles October 28, 2016

Remember when the main gin garnish debate 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 de Balon glass (whilst we opt for a highball glass for the perfect G&T, a wide goblet Copa de Balon glass gives your unusual garnishes room to infuse), a bottle of our London Dry Gin and some chilled, premium tonic water, and read up on these unusual gin and tonic garnishes. It’s the fastest way to give your G&T a personality of its own.

1. LAVENDER

Lavender is so much more than your auntie’s preferred soap scent. In moderation, lavender is warm and wildly aromatic – the perfect choice if you like your gin and tonic on the floral side. Take it one step further with edible flowers for a 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. Find our Botanical G&T recipe here for a delightful twist on the classic G&T.

Sipsmith Botanical Gin and Tonic

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, such as our London Dry Gin. 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.

4. PEPPERCORNS

Peppercorns are commonly seen in Spanish G&Ts, bobbing amidst the ice cubes. A kitchen essential; you can opt for a black peppercorns for a savoury kick (paired with strawberries for a summery twist); or opt 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. The perfect accompaniment to a summer salad, sipped al fresco.

7. LEMON THYME

If you’re a sipper 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.

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. A fanned apple also makes a perfect garnish in your Gin & (Apple) Juice, found on page 185 of SIP, our Gin Cocktail Book.

gin & apple juice

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 (after lime, of course): 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. Add to a V.J.O.P. and Tonic for a serious juniper hit.

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, like in a London Calling cocktail.

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.

Let us know your favourite gin garnish by tagging us in your cocktail recreations on social media @sipsmith. Looking for more ginny cocktail inspiration? Find more below.

 

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