A guide to gin garnishes

It’s true, your garnishes can make or break your gin and tonic, even if you’re using an ultra-premium gin like Slingsby and a top quality tonic such as Fever-Tree, London Essence or Fentimans.

The classic wedge of lime just doesn’t quite make the cut anymore as the gin revival has seen so many wonderful and experimental new craft and small batch produced gins appear on the shelves of shops around the UK.

Lately we’ve seen just about everything from chocolate lattices and strawberry dust covered pickled onions, to aromatic ‘cigarettes’ and cracked black pepper. So we thought we’d guide you through the best garnishes to pair with each style of gin and some of our favourite ways to garnish our Slingsby gin and tonics.

Why do we use garnishes in our drinks?

Essentially, we add garnishes as a form of decoration (so your G&T looks picture-perfect!) and to enhance the taste of the gin. We’ve produced spirits that we’d really proud of over the past few years and we want to ensure that you really can appreciate the flavours of these, which is why our signature serves suggest that your garnishes reflect what we’ve put into the botanical blend.

What garnish goes with which style of gin?

There are six flavour categories that most gins fit into, these are: juniper, citrus, floral, fruit, herbal and spice. The most common garnishes can be found in the way of fruit peels, which we’re showing you how to create below. Using a twist of fruit peel allows the essential oils trapped in the skin to escape and bring out the flavour of the gin. Slices of fruit can also be used and will bring added flavour as the juice trickles into your drink.

For spiced gins peels may work, but spices can have an equally important place as a garnish. Spices such as cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg are all highly fragrant and will stimulate your sense of smell and taste buds. However, botanicals with hard shells such as juniper and cardamom will add little to your gin and tonic as their essential oils are trapped inside.

Herbs are also commonly used and to great effect. Herbs typically produce aromas readily which, again, will give a fuller sensory experience. Mint, rosemary and thyme all have great effect when paired with more savoury gins such as herbal and juniper based spirits.

Use the chart below to experiment with garnish pairings next time you’re mixing up a delicious gin and tonic at home. Our mixologist, Ben, has suggested three fail safe options for each style of gin.

How to serve Slingsby Gin

Slingsby London Dry Gin – Grapefruit is a key botanical within our classic London Dry Gin, which is a very citrus forward gin. We’d recommend serving yours with Indian tonic water, a twist of grapefruit peel and a few fresh blueberries.

Slingsby Yorkshire Rhubarb Gin – Enhance the sweet yet tart, fruity rhubarb flavour of this gin by pairing with elderflower tonic and garnishing with a small handful of raspberries.

Slingsby Gooseberry Gin – the fresh Yorkshire gooseberries create a fruity, tangy flavour like no other within this gin. Serve with Mediterranean tonic and a few slices of crisp green apple for an unforgettably refreshing gin and tonic.

Slingsby Marmalade Gin – our limited edition citrus gin pairs beautifully with floral Mediterranean tonic and a juicy orange wedge to further bring out the zesty flavour.

How to create the perfect fruit peel twist garnish

It’s not as easy as it sounds creating the perfect twist of peel but if you follow the method below you can’t go far wrong.

1. Use a knife to remove a sliver of peel from the fruit, taking care not to remove too much of the pith.

2. The pith is bitter so if you’ve cut away a bit too much just use the knife to slice the excess off.

3. Next neaten your fruit peel by slicing off along each long edge and across each end to create a neat rectangular ribbon of peel.

4. Hold the peel over your glass with the pith towards you and pinch the peel between your fingers to release the essential oils from the skin. Then twist the peel into a coil and squeeze.

5. Place into the top of your glass or goblet immediately (this will help to retain the twist), amongst your ice, and preferred gin and tonic.

Be sure to show us how you get on with your gin and garnish pairings by sharing your pictures with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. #SlingsbyGin

Christmas Gift Guide: shop independent in Harrogate
Christmas Gift Guide: shop independent in Harrogate

Find out more
A guide to gin garnishes
A guide to gin garnishes

Find out more
8 Christmas cocktails for gin-lovers
8 Christmas cocktails for gin-lovers

Find out more
Bonfire Night Cocktails
Bonfire Night Cocktails

Find out more
Sign up for our newsletter