Why of course you should dehydrate garnishes for gin cocktails. It’s easy.
And apologies in advance for using the word curated in this article. While I despise it, “curated” can be used to make a sarcastic and tart comment. Can’t help myself.
Ever ventured into the world of dehydrating things?
These dried up little treats are delightful for adding color, texture, and flavor to gin. You can easily dehydrate your own produce to make your own at home. No fancy dehydrator needed, unless you want one. Then go nuts with a new kitchen gadget.
Why would you use dehydrated fruit as a gin garnish?
Lots of reasons. One is the flavor and aroma of a dehydrated piece of fruit or vegetable. Vegetable? Why not. Dehydration concentrates the flavors as the water from your garnish is evaporated away. Same goes for all of those wonderful scents.
Dehydrated garnishes also last for weeks. Make a big batch, and you’ll have your fave flavors at the ready without needing to run out to the store for limes or pomegranate or celery. Just seeing if you are paying attention here.
But you can’t rush greatness. If you turn up the heat to speed things along, you will end up cooking the garnish instead of just evaporating the water out. And how long does this greatness take? Sometimes half a day. Or longer. Or shorter. Depends.
How do you dehydrate garnishes for gin drinks?
Let’s assume you don’t have a food dehydrator and want to do this in your oven. Totally legit and mostly easy. It’s a bit like painting a room, spend time on the prep and then the actual dehydration is easy.
Supplies you need to dehydrate fruits and things for garnishes:
- Parchment paper or Aluminum Foil
- Baking sheet or pan
- Some sort of cutting device. Mandolin or knife? Your choice. Try a knife for a more “natural” feel to your slices. And by natural I mean possibly uneven and lopsided.
Steps to take for this arty and delicious gin project:
Gather your fruits! Some ideas:
- Blood Orange
- Sour Orange
Slice up your fruits. The thicker they are, the longer the dehydration process takes. Take care to slice things evenly, which is perhaps the trickiest thing about this whole she-bang.
If you are doing thin orange slices and fat berries in the same go, one will be done before the other.
Arrange everything on parchment or foil on a baking sheet. If you want your dehydrated garnishes to keep their fruit color, you will need to lightly toss your ingredients with ascorbic acid in a light sugar solution. The acid retains the original fruit color.
Heat it up! Go for about 175 to 200 degrees in your oven, for 8 to 24 hours.
** So happy to help with the following very specific instructions! **
Heating times will vary depending on your oven, your slicing and dicing technique or lack thereof, and what you are dehydrating. Your choice on flipping your stuff over.
You can tell they are done when the sticky factor is GONE.
How to mix things up as you dehydrate your garnishes!
If you want to mix things up, you can also candy your garnishes. Use a heavy simple syrup to coat your fruit before baking. This may change the color of things, but whatever.
If you want to candy part of your batch and leave the rest, use two baking sheets. The simple syrup will bleed over to the naked fruit. Then it all goes in the oven, same directions as above.
Care for some spicy fruit? Just dehydrate your stuff with spices on top.
This is a bit like making your fruit candied, but add your spice of choice by sprinkling on top before you pop in the oven.
Go nuts with adding spices, or even herbs. Fresh herbs? Maybe not, or try it. Toss on some ground herbs to layer flavors and then dehydrate your fruit.
- Chili Powder
- Whatever you like!
How to make dehydrated powders to use as garnishes!
So you’re having a bad day and need some sort of anger outlet? Time to make some powdered garnishes. This has more steps, but the last one you get to satisfyingly grind your fruits into a dusty powder.
The premise is this – make a flavored liquid and thicken it up with sugar. You can make the flavored liquid a few ways, or just buy some. You want your sugary flavored goo to be a bit thick.
Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet, preferably a sheet with sides so no flavor goo heads overboard.
Smear and spread your flavor concoction on the parchment paper and dehydrate the snot out of it. Same deal, dehydrator or the over at low heat for many many hours.
When you are done, the sheet will be dry and then comes the fun part – grind it up. Really grind it up. Until it’s a powder. A mortar and pestle is great for this.
Your resulting powder can be used to create a sugar rim on your glass, or dust your next gin cocktail creating with your anger releasing and beautifully flavored powder.
You may also want to play around with dehydrating rinds and peels of your favorite fruits. Grind up the rinds and mix with salts for a double punch of flavor on a rim.
How to store your dehydrated gin cocktail garnishes!
Go super low key and toss them in a plastic baggie that you can seal up.
Or even more low key and put them in a plastic container.
Find a glass jar. Maybe an old pickle jar that has a cool shape.
One final step… Channel your inner instagram influencer and go all out in a colored glass antique jar with a carefully curated hipster backdrop of found denim and long lost heirlooms dug from an attic. And maybe not your attic.
Either way, your lovelies should be good for a few weeks, and now you know how to dehydrate garnishes for gin cocktails.