Ever wanted to create beautiful imagery to garnish your cocktails but been constrained by your lack of artistic talent? Worry no longer as it’s now possible to print your own food-safe garnishes and artwork! We’ll show you how easy it is with just a few bits of equipment. You can add branding, personalised photos and even marketing messages onto the top of cocktails.
All you need are:
- Printer able to handle refillable inks, we use a Canon iP7250
- Refillable ink cartridges
- Food-safe ink refills & syringes
- Food-safe Wafer paper
- Some basic image design software
- Decide which cocktail you’re going to make (make sure it foams on top)
Pictured: All the tools you need including, inks, paper, printer & refill cartridge.
Step 1: Prepare all your tools and fill all the refillable cartridges with food-safe ink. It’s important to sanitise all the equipment before use. We’ve shown the black ink above for illustration purposes but it’s a good idea to use different syringes for the inks to prevent cross-contamination.
Filling cartridges can be a messy job so make sure you have plenty of tissues spare!
Close-up of the cartridges showing the syringe and and refill port on the top. It’s a good idea to label everything for refilling later.
A size guide is useful for measuring against your glasses.
Step 2: Create a size guide in your software of choice (we used Microsoft Powerpoint/Publisher) to create different size circles to reference the size of the glass you choose for your cocktail. You can then overlay your image on to the correct size for printing.
If you’re handy in photoshop or illustrator you can do a lot of the design work yourself.
Step 3: Once you have your sizing sorted it’s worth maximising the number of prints you can per page, we only printed 5 for illustration purposes but could have done 7 per page. That helps make the most out of your wafer paper. Be sure to print the pattern on the smooth side of the paper.
Cut carefully around the image to create the circle.
Step 4: Cut out your images. We’re still looking into ways to stamp out the wafers in circles but it only takes around 30–40s to carefully cut out each of the images manually.
Your circle is ready to serve!
Step 5: Remember with anything designed for consumption you should handle them hygienically. We recommend silver or stainless steel tongs for manipulating the garnishes. They will store well for several weeks but make sure to keep them dry and away from moisture. Layers of cling film between garnishes will prevent them from sticking together in humid climates.
It’s easy and quick using tongs to place the garnish.
Step 6: Place the wafer paper on top of your finished cocktail. If you’re struggling to create a good foam on top of the cocktail, try dry-shaking (without ice) some pineapple juice in a boston shaker. After a vigorous shake you should have a plentiful supply of long-lasting foam which can be poured or spooned onto the cocktail.
The finished product.
Step 7: Your cocktail and garnish is ready to serve immediately. We chose a design that subtly compliments the colour of the cocktail and shows off our branding. The design will last as long as the cocktail although the paper will shrink slightly as it gets wet. We’ve taken a picture below 10 minutes after first placement to illustrate this:
10 mins after serving.
You can see the design has shrunk slightly over time. It’s best not to include any dark borders or edges as these will be very apparent as the design shrinks, ruining the visual effect somewhat. We also recommend that you serve the cocktails with straws as you don’t want to disturb the design for as long as possible. Happy drinking!