The best cocktail garnishes make a drink you crafted at home after hastily googling the recipe look and taste as good as a fancy drink you paid $20 for at a swanky cocktail bar. It’s kind of unreal what a difference a little something perched on the lip of your glass can make. Plus, cocktail garnishes are basically snacks (and you know we love snacks). A bartender is going to balk if you ask for a Martini with eight olives. At home, with all the best cocktail garnishes at your disposal, you can eat olives like they’re chips. So let’s raise a glass to the best garnish for cocktails, whether you’re mixing Martinis or blending Pina Coladas.
- Mezzetta Super Colossal Spanish Queen Olives
There’s nothing more disappointing than ordering a Martini at a bar and getting one dinky little green olive on a toothpick. At home, you don’t have to settle for teeny-tiny olives. That’s where these big boys come in. Mezzetta makes some of our favorite olives across the board, but these Super Colossal Spanish Queen Olives are among the best cocktail garnishes because they’re huge, yes, but also because they taste great. As Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling put it, “Giant Martini olives aren’t any good if the flavor isn’t there, [but] these deliver on that, too. They have a lovely tang and a buttery finish.” Whether you like Martinis with vodka or gin, these olives are a bigger, better take on a classic garnish.
Read the full ranking of the best Martini olives
- Old South Pickled Jumbo Cocktail Onions
Okay, so you’re a person who prefers your Martinis with cocktail onions rather than olives. You’re different. That’s great. We love that about you. If you’re going the Gibson route, Old South makes the best little pearl onions you’ll find in a jar. When we taste tested cocktail onions, these had the most interesting flavor; they’re tart, pickle-y, and almost dilly tasting, which makes them perfectly suited to serving in a strong vodka or gin cocktail. Put a jar of these on your bar cart and you’ll make cocktail onion converts out of your drinking buddies.
Read the full ranking of the best cocktail onions
- Wickles Dirty Dill Cocktail Cornichons
If you’re making Bloody Marys at home, we sincerely hope that you are, a.) using the best Bloody Mary mix and, b.) loading them up with fun cocktail garnishes. We all agree that Bloodies should basically be meals, right? Well, these pickles should really be part of the repertoire. They’re dilly, crunchy, and have just enough heat to remind you you’re alive on a Sunday morning, aka when you need that reminder most. These are among the best garnishes for cocktails, yes, but we bet you’ll find yourself dicing them up for tuna salad and eating them directly from the jar when you’re feeling noshy, too.
Read the full ranking of every Wickles product
- Kirkland Signature Shrimp Cocktail
Okay, we know Red Lobster isn’t exactly considered the height of fine dining, but they do serve their Bloody Marys with a cocktail shrimp and that’s downright luxurious. Your shortcut—without having to boil and devein shrimp or drive to Red Lobster—is this excellent shrimp cocktail platter from Kirkland. Costco’s boiled, chilled shrimp are big and meaty, and you get a whole pound of them for around 15 bucks (with cocktail sauce and lemon, too). Serve this as an appetizer for a nice dinner, and then use the leftover shrumps for next-morning Bloodies.
Read the full ranking of the best shrimp cocktail platters
- Dole Pineapple Slices
Savory cocktail garnishes have probably been overrepresented on this list, but sweet cocktail garnishes are valid, too. Making something tropical like a Piña Colada, Mai Tai, or Painkiller? Dole’s canned pineapple slices look awfully nice on the lip of a Hurricane glass. Plus, they’re nice and firm so they won’t fall to pieces. You can even use the juice from the can in your drinks.
Read the full ranking of the best canned pineapple