PRINT A DRINK create 3D-printed, edible garnishes for their drinks.

Garnishes (those finishing touches) are an important part of the cocktail experience and fulfil a number of functions:

Printed rice paper garnish from Aqua, HK.

  • Aesthetically  –  a good looking cocktail will taste better. Science has proven that given the same food, the one that is more attractively presented tastes better. The same principle holds true with cocktails. If you garnish your cocktail well, without having to change anything else your cocktails will instantly taste better, hopefully improving your sales and reviews at the same time!

Drumstick Mojito with fragrant mint garnish from www.cocktailproject.co.uk.

  • Flavour  –  around 80% of taste comes from smell. The reason airline food often tastes so bland (or is so heavily seasoned) is because the air conditioned and recirculated cabin air dries the moisture within your nose and prevents your flavour receptors from working. In garnish terms, when you garnish a cocktail with a fresh and fragrant piece of fruit, if that sits right next to your nostrils as you drink you will smell that fruit and in turn bring out the flavours within the cocktail.

Credit: Liolikas Bolikas, Belfast (Facebook).

  • Fun  –  wacky garnishes can be really fun for both staff and patrons. Especially if Bartenders are given license to be creative they can come up with fun serves like the one above. If a bar is a fun place to be, people are more likely to return or tell their friends about it. This is great not only for the bottom line (people in bars generally buy drinks) but also the reputation of the venue…all from a couple of innovative garnishes.

Thanks to PRINT A DRINK for the shot (you can see the finished product on this Article’s header).

  • Social Media  -  running alongside reputation of the venue is social media. In the age of smartphones, cameras and instagram…people like to take photos of what they’re doing. In fact, the majority of millenials are actively seeking excuses to take photos, either selfies or of their food and drink. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in a hot local bar or restaurant, spend 5 minutes looking around you and count how many phones are on the table or mid-photo. This social media affect can be great for business because they are essentially little adverts, created by your customers, encouraging people to visit the business.

In conclusion, garnishes can be almost unlimited in terms of scope and variety. The limiting factor is your own (and your staff’s) imagination. Although many garnishes can come across as “gimmicky”, especially if they’re over the top, they may still bring value in the form of fun and social-media factor. Each niche venue has a garnish with its own value: what works in a sports bar may not work in a high-end speakeasy, for example. The important thing is to experiment to find what works for your clientele and when you hit that sweet-spot, keep innovating to keep your garnish game fresh!

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