Unique Ideas for Cocktail Garnishes

Switch up your drink menu with these unique ideas for cocktail garnishes.

A piece of fruit, olives, a sprig of mint – these are all garnishes found on any cocktail menu. You can easily spruce up any drink by adding a touch of flavor and texture with a garnish. If you’re looking for unique ways to finish off your drinks, we have some ideas for fun cocktail garnishes. Expert mixologist Joey Torkelson will help you get started!

Q: What are some common drink garnishes?

There are so many creative ways to garnish even the most basic drinks these days but the tried and true are still the citrus options. Oranges can be cut into wedges, wheels and swaths (a cut of rind that’s twisted and placed on the drink instead of the rim). Limes and lemons are great for wedges and wheels, as well as a micro-planed rind.

For tropical drinks like daiquiris and piña coladas, triangular cuts of pineapples with and without the rind work well. You can also add fanned strawberries can add a touch of flair.

Q: How do you choose your cocktail garnishes?

I like to think of cocktail garnishes as a visual element in lieu of flavor pairing. Think about creating a beautiful place setting with varying colors. Not following protocol and working with colors and visual elements are my preferences for garnishes.


For example, a sprig of fresh lavender paired with a light and bright cocktail makes for not only a refreshing drink but a beautiful one. You also need to consider the aromatic component of the garnish, which can affect the overall taste.

Q: What are some unique ways to garnish margaritas?

I like to do a Tajin rim or Tajin dipped lime wheel. It’s easy to execute and provides a great flavor combination with the kick of spice and tartness of the lime. You can also add a hint of spice to margaritas. Use a full red jalapeño pepper resting on the rim or add a slice of jalapeño with a lime wheel atop the ice on a rocks margarita.

One of our cocktail recipes is a Mai Tai Margarita, which includes a flaming lime to add a bit a flair for guests – it will definitely create an Instagrammable moment!


Q: What are some savory cocktail garnish ideas?

Rosemary is so versatile and makes for a sturdy garnish. If you torch the rosemary sprig before adding it to a cocktail, it takes on a smokey, enticing aroma. Poking it through a citrus wheel with an added edible flower is a talking point on any cocktail, too. Rosemary pairs well with a variety of flavors, from coffee to florals to citrus.


A variety of garden herbs can add a nice touch to cocktails. Similar to rosemary, thyme, cilantro and sage all add an earthy, savory taste to cocktails. Or you can floral garnishes like lavender or hibiscus for a pop of beautiful color.

Kerry’s Red Arrow liquid smoke can also add a nice smokey flavor to a salt or sugar rimmer. Place smoked salt or sugar on a triangle cut of pineapple and dehydrate it, then place it on the rim of the glass. It makes the best garnish for a smoked pineapple margarita.

Want more pro bar tips from Joey? Visit the Island Oasis Margarita of the Month page for monthly tips and recipes.