By Len Panaggio, President, Newport Harbor Corporation
Drink garnishes are something that too many of us take for granted: a lime on the rim of your vodka tonic, a piece of orange dangling in your hefeweizen, an olive in your martini. However, presentation is one of the most important aspects of our business. Chefs know the importance of plate presentation to feed the eyes in addition to the stomach. It only makes sense that our bar team uses the same approach.
Proper glassware is of the utmost importance, but it’s only the beginning. Many establishments simply have the basics: lemons, limes, olives and cherries. But, too many restaurants & bars fail to take it to the next level. They don’t have celery for their Bloody Mary’s, a simple garnish that amps up the visual!
In addition to having the right garnishes, make sure they look delicious. For example, has the fruit been washed? Is your bar staff properly slicing or are they just cutting it up? Is it fresh and appealing or dried out and wilted? These simple quality control steps are critical to having a visually stunning drink.
With so many potential garnish out there, it’s also a great way to set yourself apart from the competition. Options include savory delicacies such as queen olives stuffed with traditional pimientos, to all sorts of cheeses, to even a shrimp cocktail which hangs off the rim of a glass. Many are not only appealing, but also command an up-charge that won’t hurt the old bottom line!
It is important for all of us to put forth more effort in upgrading our drink presentation. While there is no shortage of product available to do so, there seems to be an abundance of excuses not to! When we are charging more for drinks than sandwiches, don’t our guests deserve it?