Garnishing your drink can be a great way to accentuate flavours or add additional contrasting flavours to your serve. No gin needs a garnish to create a complete drink, a plain gin and tonic with ice is a classic for a reason. However, different garnishes can be a great way to experiment, changing the appearance, flavour, mouthfeel and texture of your serve.
Our guide will explain the basics of choosing a garnish, but the real excitement comes from trying new ideas out. So have fun with it! Comment down below your own favourite garnish so we can try it too.
How to Complement or Contrast Garnishes with Gin
A good garnish should either complement the central flavour profile of the gin, or contrast and balance it.
You don’t have to work out the flavour profile of a gin yourself, it should specify on the label. Most gins fall into one of five categories: Juniper, Citrus, Spicey, Floral or Fruity. By reading the label and identifying the primary botanicals and flavors, you can find matching ingredients to complement them. Alternatively, select a flavour on the opposite side of the wheel to create a more complex and balanced serve.
For example, a garnish of lemon or orange peel is harmonious with a citrus gin. However, a hint of fresh basil or rosemary can contrast these flavours and create an equally delicious drink.
Slice, Peel or Clap?
Fruit garnishes can alter a drink drastically depending on whether you decide to use a slice of fruit, the peel of the fruit or a whole piece of fruit.
Using the peel can add a subtle hint of flavour to your gin. Citrus fruit peels work particularly well, as they contain lots of essential oils. These oils create fragrant aromas that can work well with lots of different types of gin. Our top tip is to rub the peel along the edge of the glass, it really does add an extra boost to the aromatics of your drink and enhances its flavour profile.
A slice of fruit can add more flavour to your drink than a peel. When picking a more subtle fruit, such as apple, it may be necessary to use a wedge to ensure the flavour carries through the complex profile of the gin.
Choosing a whole piece of fruit, such as a berry, won’t affect the flavour in the same way that a peel or a slice will. However, they can add colour to a drink, making it very appealing. It also makes for a great post-drink snack!
Herbs and spices can also make for great garnishes. Herbs like rosemary or basil can create a slightly more savoury drink and can pair well with other fruit garnishes. Clapping herbs before placing them in a drink can increase the intensity of both the flavour they infuse in the drink and their aromas.
A London Dry Gin’s primary botanical is Juniper, meaning that adding a few Juniper berries can really enhance this flavour. Peppercorns can also work well in this way, pairing well with sweeter fruits like strawberries or raspberries to create depth and complexity to a serve. Adding a stick of cinnamon to spicey gins can complement the spicey flavours, or contrast fruitier gins.
Forged Spirits The Original
Our original London Dry gin is herbal, with a slightly spice-forward hit on the palate and some underpinning citrus flavours. Due to its complex profile, it can pair well with lots of different garnishes, however, our favourite is a slice of apple or a few Juniper berries. For a more intensely flavoured garnish, a slice of cucumber can impart a fresh, light edge to your serve.
Forged Spirits Spiced Orange
This sweet yet spicy drink works well with a wedge of orange. Alternatively, garnish with a cinnamon stick to accentuate the spicey botanicals.
Forged Spirits Sherbet Lemon
This zesty gin pairs perfectly with lemon peel, complementing the light flavour profile without overpowering the gin. If you prefer a slightly more complex drink, contrast the sweet citrus flavours with a sprig of aromatic rosemary.
Forged Spirits Cherry Blossom
Floral yet indulgent, the buttery almond and cherry flavour of this gin pairs well with whole cherries or raspberries. For a touch of indulgence, a vanilla pod adds extra sweetness and depth of flavour.
Forged Spirits Rhubarb and Ginger
Adding a stick of rhubarb or an orange peel to this gin can help create a sweeter, fruiter drink. Want to accentuate the warming ginger notes? We suggest using a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of ginger, before using them as a garnish.
Forged Spirits Passionfruit
Pairing this fruity gin with pine creates a surprising yet delicious tipple. For a more traditional serve, pair with half a passionfruit and some fresh berries.
Forged Spirits Strawberry
Bursting with juicy berry flavours, this drink works well with a whole heap of garnishes. Adding basil and fresh strawberries creates a beautiful colour contrast and a fresh, summery taste.
Forged Spirits Yorkshire Strength
The extra kick of booze is mellowed with soft citrus and floral botanicals in this smooth and velvety drink. Pair with a garnish of fresh elderflower for a delicate yet powerful tipple.