The fruity secrets in cocktails

8th January 2024

Although enjoyed throughout the year, the approach of warmer days ahead makes those fruit-enhanced cocktail beverages even more refreshing. From muddled lime and mint mojitos to frosty strawberry daiquiris, fruits are ideal ingredients for infusing flavour to a variety of cocktails.
One use of fruit calls for garnishing a glass with a wedge of citrus. Think about how a final squeeze of lemon over a completed entrée adds that perfect finishing touch of fresh flavour to the dish. Similarly, when a simple vodka and tonic arrives with a wedge of lime, the fruit is not merely meant to please the eye. While it does add a pop of colour, it also adds a burst of fresh zesty flavour when the juice is squeezed into the drink. Lemons, limes and oranges are all utilized in this manner. Even some beers benefit from the added enhancement; orange wedges often accompany wheat beers and lemon is commonly served with Hefeweizens.

Muddling is the act of pulverizing fruits and/or herbs in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. The result is the extraction of oils that are at once flavourful and aromatic. When muddling fresh ingredients for a mojito, oils are pressed from both mint leaves and the peel of lime wedges, as well as the juice of the lime. This infuses a cooling and refreshing essence to the finished cocktail.

Thin, decorative spirals of rind from lemons or oranges can add a delicate hint of citrusy sweetness to a beverage. Conversely, a thicker strip will include a thin layer of the white pith beneath the colourful surface, which conveys a bitter sensation.

Juices of fruits are key ingredients for various cocktails. Orange juice combines with vodka for the resulting screwdriver cocktail. Pineapple juice, an ingredient in the June bug, completes the tropical flare when combined with coconut rum, Midori and banana liqueurs. The sweetness of fruit juice tempers the strong alcohol flavour of other liquids, creating an enjoyable balance of flavour sensations all woven together.

Cut fruit, such as a lime, may be rubbed along the rim of a glass, as with a margarita glass, enabling salt to adhere to the rim, and thus adding another flavour dimension to the finished margarita. The drinker’s taste buds will experience salty, sweet and tart sensations with each sip.

Whole fruits are also used, either blended, such as in a strawberry daiquiri, or lightly macerated as with a raspberry royale.

The various components of fruits have a host of effects on cocktail drinks, all to the end of adding another level of flavour for the senses to savour. Freshen up at your next cocktail party by adding some fresh fruit to your favourite summer drinks.

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Bartender's top tip

Preparation is key. Have all your ingredients ready before your start mixing, it'll keep the flavours fresh and your cocktails tasting even better.

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