10 Delicious gin and tonic garnishes

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

When it comes to choosing a garnish for your gin and tonic there are loads of options that, with a little imagination, can set your cocktails soaring to new heights. Here are ten of our favourites…

1. Rosemary

Photo by Jennifer Pallian

Our top choice for a G&T, this savoury herb has more complex flavours and aromas than a lot of gins and its pointy leaves certainly look the part when dunked in your booze. 

Pinch off a soft sprig or pick a woody twig, peel off the lower leaves and you have yourself a DIY cocktail stick. And you can also use its dainty purple flowers. There is no end to rosemary’s cocktail magic…

 

2. Lemon Verbena

Photo by Henry Be

Another excellent herb, lemon verbena has a potent whiff reminiscent of lemon sherbet that sets off citrussy gins a treat

 

3. Lavender

Photo by Heather Ford

Lavender possesses one of the most relaxing fragrances known to mankind, so who wouldn’t want to infuse their post-work G&T with its floral aromas to induce a sophisticated level of calm to the evening?

The best flavour-friendly oils come from varieties of English lavender—simply float a flower head on top of your drink or snip further down the stem and use as a stick. 

 

4. Borage

The star-shaped blue blooms of this wild flower not only add a cool appearance to your cocktail they also add some cool flavours and aromas: borage tastes a lot like cucumber.

 

5. Salad Burnett

For more cool-as-a-cucumber cocktails seek out the salad burnett. 

Snip off the young leaves and delight in their soft cucumber aromas as they glide across the surface of your drink.

 

6. Spruce tips

Photo by Matt Hoffman

In early summer spruce and pine trees turn a twin shade of green—the deep woodland green of the older needles are tipped with vivid new growth that radiates with freshness. 

These soft tips look great in a G&T and will infuse your spirit with the lemony essence of the forest. 

They’re also stuffed full with Vitamin C, so gobble them up when you’ve drained your glass.

 

7. Strawberry

You may think there’s nothing new or exciting about dropping a strawberry into a summer cocktail and, compared to some of our other suggestions, you may worry that a plump fruit will look clumsy in the glass. However, slice a strawberry as thin as you can and freeze it in the middle of an ice cube (half fill the tray with water, freeze, add strawberry, fill, refreeze) and it will turn into a rare cocktail jewel.

 

8. Gorse flowers

Photo by Eva Wilcock

You can use the ice cube trick for any frozen garnishes with flowers looking especially impressive preserved in frozen water. 

Borage is one of our favourites but anything edible is worth trying. Pot marigolds, pansies and nasturtiums are just three you could experiment with, or how about the bright yellow petals of gorse which come with the added bonus of smelling like coconut.

 

9. Cinnamon

Some G&Ts cry out for a touch of spice to pep them up to greater levels, and there can be fewer better than the sweet spice of cinnamon. 

Simply grab a stick and drop it into your glass.

 

10. Pepper

If you like a touch of heat with your cold drinks, then peppercorns make an interesting garnish and help to bring out the fruitier qualities of some gins. 

Simply float a few black or pink peppercorns among the ice cubes and they’ll soon set to work.