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Imagen Waiter, a swan in my drink!

Waiter, a swan in my drink!

George Restrepo

I am not overacting. I've seen it with my own eyes: a cocktail decorated with a green apple like a swan. I still don’t get out of shock and I felt I was in a Chinese decoration food contest or in a Caribbean hotel where the customer attraction comes from fruit sculptures shaped like animals and children's comics characters drawn to human scale. The sad thing is that it only fulfils its decorative function, because in two days maximum it will be pulled out and thrown away. 
If you ask me about the decoration of the cocktails, in many cases this would be a part of the drink itself, as an ingredient. It is the case of the classic martinis like the Dry Martini with an olive or the Sweet Martini and Manhattan with a cherry. The decoration is that glamour touch that transforms the ingredients, helping the cocktail with some flavor or standing out the tasting notes of one of the bases used. We can find other type of cocktails with a little orange twist, which provides essential oils and a delicate perfume. 

However, if the idea is to be creative I will always say: LESS IS MORE. Among the tropical fruits there is one that by itself is already a delight to the eye: the South American physalis. This fruit can be easily found in Spanish markets. Shaped like a cherry, is yellow, bittersweet, it can be used discovering its natural packaging. There is also the carambolo or star fruit: if you make a cross-section on it, the fruit becomes a small star-shaped slice. And we also have the star anise, very aromatic and with a unique texture. 

I've recently seen that some hotels and cocktail bars are using Hibiscus as decoration, a new product that within its exotic character is itself a novel ingredient that adds flavor to cocktails in addition to the visual impact it generates. Hibiscus flower grows in Australia, covered in syrup, edible, fleshy texture and taste similar to raspberries.
The truth is that the IBA (International Bartender Association) is unambiguous in the formulation of cocktails and the type of decoration to be carried out, clearly referring to the classic cocktail. Then, by the time when decorating creative cocktails depends on the author, I take this opportunity to make a call to increase the cocktail quality instead of the size of the decoration. Size does matter. A cocktail is a cocktail and not a fruit salad. 

Photograph and text: George Restrepo
Original article published in Bar Business Magazine (in Spanish).

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