The Art of Garnishing
Blossoms Add Splendor to Summertime Sippers
The first taste of a beverage begins when you lay your eyes on the glass. From the iconic olive in your Martini to the lustrous sprig of mint on your Julep, the role of garnish is to add color, texture and aroma to the cocktail. Where fresh fruit adds sweetness and acidity, edible blossoms seduce the palate through bursts of fresh aromatics and botanical complexity. Once you identify and learn to use a few blossoms, you’ll gain access to a living palette of color and the expression of peak seasonality and freshness.
The Pimm’s Cup is the ideal playground for experimentation. Traditionally topped with sparkling lemonade and garnished with cucumber wheels and fresh citrus, the Pimm’s Cup’s sparks fly with the addition of electric blue borage blossoms that taste like honey and mild cucumber. Add Berkshire Mountain Distillers Bourbon Whiskey and swap the lemonade for Rhode Island’s own Farmer Willie’s alcoholic ginger beer (made with cold-pressed ginger juice, molasses and a hint of nutmeg) and you have a soulful sipper—The Porch Swing—perfect for winding down a summer afternoon.
Peppery nasturtium blossoms provide a pop of color and a snappy bite that complements the zesty acidity of a classic Margarita (tequila, triple sec, lime juice). My favorite variation—The Spicy Rita—is bejeweled with vibrant red blossoms and underscored by the spicy green heat of muddled jalapeño. Grand Poppy liqueur steps in for triple sec, adding a mellow, sweet floral nose, the perfect foil to the heat of the jalapeño pepper and the nasturtium blossom.
My favorite Daiquiri of the season—The Siren—is accentuated with the irresistible clove-like scent of Sweet William. The scalloped blossoms emphasize delicate notes of vanilla, flambéed banana and candied pineapple in Plantation Three Stars Rum while calendula simple syrup adds a lush floral essence rounding out the tartness of fresh lime juice. Batch up a pitcher of The Siren while you’re entertaining and you’re off duty until the alarm sounds for the next round.