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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.17.2002

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drink dress- ups
a brief guide to garnishing cocktails 
1 2 3 4 5
continued from page 4

how to make a flaming garnish
One of my favorite home decorating books ever, Matt Maranianís delightfully eccentric Pad, includes instructions on how to create a variety of fabulously garish, flaming garnishes that are guaranteed to impress your friends. Hereís the basic technique, tested in the kitchen of yours truly. Note: For any of you girls and boys who happen to have long hair, be careful! Tie back your hair to make sure those lovely tresses donít go up in flames.

what youíll need orange extract (you just need something with a really high alcohol content Ė lemon would do just as well), plain croutons (make your own by cutting stale bread into cubes, and drying it out in the oven), bamboo skewer, lighter, fruit

what to do Pop the crouton onto the skewer first, so that itís at the very tip. Assemble the fruit in whatever combination suits your fancy. Balance the masterpiece carefully in the cocktail glass (in which youíve poured the completed drink). You want the crouton end sticking out, naturally. Now pour a smidgen of extract on the crouton, just enough to soak most of it (try not to drown it though, as itíll drip and make a mess, turning this entire operation into even more of a fire hazard than it probably already is). Light the crouton, serve immediately, and bask in the glory of the oohs and ahhs from your guests.

prep ahead
Certain garnishes Ė notably the lemon twist Ė take a fair amount of time and effort to prepare. And since itís never pretty watching the bartender struggle with drippy fruit flesh or stubborn pith, itís not a bad idea to prepare your garnishes ahead of time, then set them in a pretty bowl by the bar for instant garnishes come party time. Just cover prepped garnishes in a damp paper towel or cloth, and refrigerate no more than a day. Any longer and theyíll look dried-out and begin to discolor Ė and when it comes to garnishes, good looks are essential.


check out these related articles
beyond the basic bar | a very basic bar 
guide to glassware 
8 slick tools for mixing drinks in style

 

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