You can create special holiday cocktails with seasonal ingredients—cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint.

But you can add a touch of red and green to Martinis and Margaritas as well.

Here, some suggestions to get you thinking about holiday cocktail garnishes.
 
 
OPENING THOUGHTS

If you want a red and green motif, cruise the aisles of the produce section, or start with these lists.

We don’t like to use raw cranberries. They just become detritus in the glass: No one eats them. (Some people enjoy chewing on citrus peel and mint leaves and other herbs, so we give them a pass.)

It’s the same with cinnamon sticks: They make a great impression, but they’re expensive and just end up in the trash.

Instead, use the lists below to create pleasing combinations (see photo #5 for an easy favorite).
 
 
FRUIT GARNISHES:

RED FRUIT GARNISHES

Our favorites:

  • Pomegranate arils (photos #1 and #3)
  • Raspberries
  • Red figs (photo #2)
  • Red grapefruit
  • Red grapes
  • Strawberries
  •  
    Starfruit, which is yellow and provides perfect star slices, is a natural holiday garnish (photo #4).

    Other options, like red apples and pears, are more white than red; blood orange, unless you segment it, contributes its orange peel.

    Watermelon, although it can be cut into stars, simply isn’t seasonal.

    You can add dried cranberries to a clear drink.

    Pick bite (a snack bite on a cocktail pick): alternating red and green grapes.
     
     
    GREEN FRUIT GARNISHES

  • Avocado
  • Green figs
  • Green grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Lime
  •  
    Not great: green apples (too much white), honeydew (too light, not seasonal).

     
     
    VEGETABLE GARNISHES:

    RED VEGETABLE GARNISHES

  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  •  
    Now, on to the veggies.
     
     
    GREEN VEGETABLE GARNISHES

    Sure, you can use green olives; but how about a sugar snap pea in your Martini instead?

    Savory cocktails can be dressed up with:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bell pepper
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Green beans
  • Herbs: basil, mint, and we have to give the thumbs up to rosemary and thyme sprigs
  • Pickled vegetables: asparagus, bell pepper, cucumber (i.e., pickles) green beans
  • Scallions
  • Snow peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Watercress.
  •  
    Too pale green: celery, cucumber, endive, zucchini.
     
    Pick snack: For a fancy bite, make a pick of cherry tomatoes, ciliegine (bite-size mozzarella balls) and a bit of basil.
     
     
    BEYOND FRUITS & VEGETABLES

    Glass Rimmers

    Check out, from yesterday’s tip: colored sugar and salt glass rimmers (photo #3).

    Mini Candy Canes

    If they work with the drink, mini candy canes are a fun touch.

    Drinking Straws

    Instead of a garnish, or in addition to it, consider red-and-white striped straws. They add a “candy cane” touch. You can alternate with green and white versions.
     
     
    MORE IDEAS

    Also see these articles on cocktail garnishes:

  • Making Cocktail Glass Rimmers
  • New Cocktail Garnishes
  • More Christmas Cocktail Garnishes
  •  

    Pomegranate Arils Cocktail Garnish
    [1] Festive fruits: pomegranate arils on a lime slice with mint (photo courtesy Entertaining.About.com).

    Fig Cocktail Garnish
    [2] Elegant garnishing for a Martini or other light-colored drink (photo courtesy Style Me Pretty).

    Pomegranate Arils Cocktail Garnish
    [3] Another option for pomegranate arils: on the bottom of the glass (photo courtesy Trendhunter).

    Starfruit Cocktail Garnish
    [4] The perfect holiday cocktail garnish: a slice of starfruit (carambola,
    photo courtesy STKLA).

    Red & Green Cocktail Garnish
    [5] Another elegant cocktail garnish: spear a raspberry with a sprig of rosemary or thyme (photo courtesy ).

    Candy Cane Martini
    [6] With the right flavor of cocktail, a mini candy cane is fun (here’s the recipe from Mantitlement).

     

      


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