By Eddie Perales, beverage professional and friend of the garnish.
The next time you’re sitting down in bar and the bartender is creating a cocktail specifically for you, take a moment to think about the untold story of the lonely garnish.
These days, the cocktail receives much praise for its exotic color or one of a kind texture. But, depending on where you are, the part-time actor or college student bartender may finish the drink by reaching into the depths of the cold, hard plastic tray, pulling out an old, saturated, maraschino cherry or a two-day-old, dried up lime wedge, thinking it’s just the way things should be.
Where’s the passion that once was imbedded in professional barmen like Jerry Thomas? He created perhaps the most elaborate garnish that was also part of the cocktail: the long stream of dark blue and golden fire of the Blue Blazer, a garnish proud and full of energy.
You see, the garnish does not have to just cling to the edge of the glass as an irrelevant afterthought, a once proud fruit added without respect or consideration. I’m very relieved to say that garnishes are back again! That’s right, friends and colleagues, we can say the passion for the garnish that was almost extinct has returned.
The proud USBG family has committed to restoring the garnish to its deserved place as an important part of the cocktail. Today you can find a wide variety of garnishes — fresh, as in spices, berries and herbs; frozen in the heart of an ice cube; or in citrus fruits, made into decorative ribbons that dance across a cocktail. For those of you who have taken the journey to molecular methods, using foams, airs, gelatins and liquid nitrogen, the garnish applauds you for taking it into the future.
Remember the definition of a libation is the act or ritual of a drink as an offering. The garnish is a part of that offering – think about that when preparing for a night’s work, and take the time to carefully select and prepare your next garnish.
The USBG presents the Cocktail World Cup 2010, sponsored by 42BELOW Vodka: the World’s Most Extreme International Cocktail Competition
Through Feb. 8, the USBG will be recruiting the top bartenders in the United States to enter its most creative and inventive cocktails into this competition. The 10 winning cocktail entries in each market will compete in the “Love, Drink and Rock N’ Roll” themed regional finals, where a USBG representative will serve on each judging panel. Competitions will take place the week of Feb. 22 in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. The top two finalists from each market will move on to compete at the national finals held in New York on March 7. Three U.S. finalists will represent the United States in the New Zealand competition.
Enter your recipe by Feb. 8 at http://usa.cocktailworldcup.com/Entry.