Dried Fruits For Drinks. The dried fruits are simply the concentrated forms of fruits and plants that are dried to lose the largest amount of water content. It is one of the healthiest foods in the world because of its richness in minerals and potassium hence it makes a perfect food which can be used as snacks.
How To Make Your Own Dried Fruit Garnishes For Your Gin Cocktails
If you’ve got a fruit bowl full of oranges and lemons that are not going to get used up before they need to go in the bin, or half a sliced grapefruit that you didn’t need in your last G&T, instead of throwing them in the bin, why not create your own dried fruit garnishes?
Of course, they’re never going to be quite as delicious as the beautiful garnishes we carefully choose to go in the Craft Gin Club Gin of the Month boxes to complement your perfect G&T… but if you’ve run out, then this is a fun alternative!
– DISCOVER CRAFT GIN CLUB
Making your own gin garnishes at home is super easy, reduces waste and gives you an instant stash of beautiful fruit garnishes to choose from whenever you next fancy a gin cocktail!
Once added to your drink, the fruit will rehydrate and impart its flavour to your gin and tonic – you won’t get the same aroma as from a fresh citrus slice, or our professionally produced ones, but the flavour should actually be more concentrated and intense as a result of the dehydrating process.
Of course, you could buy a fancy dehydrating machine but honestly, this can be done in your own oven and achieve the same results! (Just don’t forget you put them in there!)
Oh, and they also make festive Christmas tree decorations – just thread a little golden cotton or string through each slice for a lovely rustic decoration! Read on to find out how to whip up your own batch of dried fruit gin garnishes.
How to make your own dried fruit garnish:
- Turn on your oven to its lowest setting
- Slice your fruit thinly (but not paper-thin; you risk crisping the edges!). Try to keep the width as consistent as possible so they all dry at the same rate.
- Add any extra herbs or spices (see below.)
- Place your sliced fruit onto baking parchment and put in the oven.
- Check on the fruit every half-hour or so – it will take at least a few hours, depending on how hot the oven is and what fruit you’re using. Obviously, leave the dried fruit to cool before using!
- Store the dried fruit garnishes in a tightly sealed glass jar, biscuit tin or freezer bag – room temperature is ok, a cool and dark cupboard is better – and they will last 3-4 weeks.
Ideas for creative dried fruit garnishes:
- Strawberries are fun for Valentine’s Day as they look like little hearts!
- Dried raspberries are fabulous in a sparkling gin cocktail!
- Citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mandarins, clementines
- Stone fruit: peaches, apricots, plums, mangoes
- Pome fruits: apples, pears, quinces
- Add complementary spices – try cinnamon and nutmeg with apple, rosemary with orange, vanilla and star anise with pear, or dried red chilli with mango, for example!
How To Make & Use Dehydrated Fruit for Cocktails
Making cocktails is so much more than just throwing a few ingredients together. Mixology has turned into an art form, and there are so many more creative ways for you to make a drink than ever before. For instance, have you ever considered using dehydrated fruit for cocktails? We have a few ideas for how you can take your next aperitifs up a notch.
Dehydrated Fruits Are Sustainable
One of the most critical parts of using dehydrated fruits for cocktails is their sustainability. The more we learn about the Earth and the damage that much of our typical day-to-day living does to it, the more we become aware of how much we need to change. Anything that we can do as individuals to make those changes, even if it seems small, can make a world of difference as those impacts add up.
Don’t get us wrong — we love working with fresh citrus! Some drinks definitely require a twist of lime or a squeeze of lemon in them to shine. You don’t have to replace all of the fruit you use in your cocktails with dehydrated fruits, but even doing it some of the time can help.
When you remove the water content from fruit, it automatically becomes much lighter. That means that fewer resources need to be used to transport it across the country, lowering its carbon footprint. Using dehydrated fruit can help you make the most of that flavor without having nearly as much waste.
Plus, dried fruit can be made with the “less pretty” fruit, meaning that less is going to waste during the production process. After all, you might not choose the wonky-looking apple at the grocery store, but you wouldn’t even notice if it was sliced and dried.
Ways To Use Dehydrated Fruit for Cocktails
Dehydrated fruit can add a lot to the flavor of a cocktail. When you dehydrate fruit, it concentrates its flavors without having to mess around with zesting and peeling. The only downside of using dehydrated instead of fresh is that it doesn’t have the same aroma as freshly juiced fruit — but the right aperitif will make up for it!
Think of using dehydrated fruit for cocktails similarly to how you would add salt or pepper when you’re cooking — a little extra flavor can make or break the entire dish!
Dehydrated fruits can also make a fantastic, picturesque garnish for any drink. Just rim the edge of your glass with a bit of salt or sugar (depending on the drink), add a dehydrated lemon or lime wheel, take a picture for your social media page, and enjoy! It’s an easy way to make any cocktail the talk of the party, and putting that effort in shows your guests how much you care about their experience.
Another plus side of using dehydrated fruit for cocktails is that they don’t water down the drink’s flavor over time. When you add fresh lime or lemon to a drink, it tends to muddy the flavor and make it far more citrus-forward as time goes on. Combined with the melting ice, the taste you get at the bottom of the glass will be much different from the taste when it was first made. This makes using dried fruit an added bonus for aperitifs, as they were designed to be sipped instead of drank quickly.
How To Make Dehydrated Fruit for Cocktails
If you decide to use dehydrated fruit for cocktails, why not take it a step further and make them yourself?
Buying your dehydrated fruit from the store can get expensive very quickly, but making it yourself gives you control and still leaves some money in your pocket. And the best part is, you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Any fruit (or vegetable) can be dehydrated if you know the basic premise.
Step One: Make Sure Your Fruit Is Clean
It’s a known fact that the surfaces of the vast majority of fruit are covered with bacteria. Before you dehydrate any fruit, make sure to clean it first. Most of the time, just a quick 5-10 second rinse under cold, running water and a scrub with a clean vegetable brush are enough to get rid of most of the surface germs and keep yourself safer.
Always allow your fruit to dry before dehydrating it, too. That way, you’re getting the right texture and not trapping excess moisture in and making it soggy.
Step Two: Peel the Fruit
While you don’t have to peel the fruit before dehydrating it, especially if the fruit you’re using has an edible peel, it’s usually a good idea.
Step Three: Slice the Fruit Into Small Pieces
After your fruit is peeled, the next step is to slice it into small pieces. Keep in mind that the size of the finished product will be much smaller, but you want to cut it into the shapes you want before the dehydration process.
If you’re working with smaller fruits like strawberries, you can also keep them whole. Very small fruits like blueberries and cranberries should be pierced with a knife or clear skewer so that they dehydrate equally (and don’t get too tough!). Experiment with different sizes and shapes and see what works best for you!
If the fruit you’re working with has seeds or a pit, make sure that you remove that as you’re slicing your fruit.
Remember, the size of your fruit controls the time it takes for the dehydration process to be complete. Only dehydrate fruits of the same general size together to make sure everything gets done at the same time.
Step Four: Spray Your Fruit With Lemon Juice
This may sound like a strange step to take, but spraying your fruit with lemon juice before dehydrating it can stop it from browning up too much during the dehydration process. While this isn’t essential, it does help keep your fruits looking bright and closer to the original color of the fruit.
If you’re in it for the visual appeal, you don’t want to skip this step! You can use a small spray bottle or brush the surface of the fruit lightly with lemon juice on a pastry brush.
Step Five: Arrange Your Fruit Appropriately
After your fruit is cut appropriately and sprayed with lemon juice, you’ll want to arrange it on a tray in a single layer. That helps ensure the fruit doesn’t get stuck together as it dries and that each piece dehydrates at about the same pace. Keep in mind that most fruit tends to drip as it dries out, so if you’re using your oven, make sure that you place a pan or foil under it to catch any liquid.
Step Six: Dry Your Fruit!
It’s time for the best part — actually drying your fruit! If you’re using a dehydrator, follow the model’s recommendations about what time and temperature the fruit should be cooked at.
If you’re drying your fruit in the oven, set the temperature between 125 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The process is much quicker in an actual dehydrator and can take 6+ hours in the oven. Check the fruit every 2 hours or so, let it cool, and enjoy!
7 Reasons Why Dehydrated Garnishes Are Awesome For Your Bar
We’re always looking for better ways of doing things. Dehydrated garnishes one of those small steps we can take that have a big impact over time. Every step we can take – no matter how small – to make things simpler, more efficient, more beautiful, etc., has a compound effect on our profitability and joy.
Dehydrated garnishes include the usual suspects such as dry fruits like apples, lemons, oranges, limes, dried apricots, dried pineapple, and more. But it can also include things you wouldn’t expect. Meat, for example.
If you’ve ever been in the middle of a 10 cocktail rush, and thought to yourself “F*&#, I really wish I didn’t have to cut this lime wheel right now,” or “Gee whiz, this an inconvenient time for me to be making an apple fan” that’s because the smarter version of yourself was screaming at you: “this is inefficient — there’s a better way!”
Well, it’s time for this tom-foolery to stop, and for you to listen to that smarter version of yourself. Dehydrated garnishes are part of the answer, and here’s why…
- They Save You The Time Of Having To Cut / Prepare A Cocktail Garnish A La Minute
That’s right, instead of cutting and peeling (often adding an extra 10-20 seconds to your chit time), you get to reach, grab, and elegantly place on top.
Over the long run, that’s enough extra time to turn a busy shift from Un-Happy Hour into a relaxed and controlled experience for yourself, and your customers.
You’ll have freed up time that you can then use to keep conversations going, help out your teammates, and generally look like a pro.
2. They Reduce Waste By Ensuring That Every Part Of The Fruit Gets Used (Particularly In The Case Of Citrus)
Let’s use lime and lemon wheels, for example…
Many of the bartenders I’ve seen waste a good chunk of the fruit on either side of their citrus wheels. While the fruit wastage adds up over a shift, each individual piece isn’t quite big enough to juice, or to turn into another garnish.
Even if they do intend to save it for juicing later, it usually ends up in the compost.
It’s not laziness – it’s just the path of least resistance. We all take it, it’s in our nature.
Dehydrated garnishes are a way of providing a positive path of least resistance, while also eliminating waste.
I’ve never seen anyone eliminate waste entirely from their bar, but having garnishes that you can prep ahead of time, and not have to ditch at the end of a shift, goes a very long way.
3. They Look Beautiful
Ever heard the expression ‘people drink with their eyes’? It’s true – the better your drinks look, the more your customers will enjoy them.
Again, using citrus as an example, the dehydration process darkens the fruit itself quite significantly. This can provide a dramatic, intriguing contrast against your drinks, allowing you to play with really interesting colour combinations – think foams, or darkly coloured combinations of liquids.
4. You Can Dehydrate, Well, Anything As A Cocktail Garnish
So let your creativity go wild! For example, in our Taste of Canada Cocktail Masterclass, one of our current drinks features dehydrated beef (aka beef jerky):
It’s a great way to get yourself, or your teammates, excited – especially if you’ve been pumping out the same drinks list for a while. Grabbing a bunch of dehydrated garnishes and throwing some ideas around the bar can really reinvigorate a team, and bring them closer together.
After all, variety is the spice of life – so spice it up! (Did someone just say ‘dehydrated chilis’…?)
5. Dehydrated Cocktail Garnishes Last A Very Long Time
Prepping garnishes ahead of a shift is a no-brainer for saving time – but can you nail down the exact amount you’re going to use, every time? If so, you’re basically Nostradamus.
There are two outcomes when you pre-prep your garnishes: you underestimate, and get caught short-handed – usually in the middle of the unexpected rush that caused you to underestimate in the first place.
Or, you overestimate – and either end up with soggy (or dried out) citrus in your customer’s glass, and/or a compost full of expensive fruit. It’s not just the fruit itself – it’s the labour that went into cutting, storing, and tossing it.
Dehydrating your garnishes means they become a lot more shelf stable.They won’t last forever, but they DO give you a much wider margin for error when you’re trying to forecast your sales, and prep accordingly.
6. Dehydrated Cocktail Garnishes Let You Control Cost-Per-Garnish
Good bartenders are pretty darned close to perfect humans – but we’re still not machines. One person’s cuts are inevitably thicker or thinner than the next. That makes it next to impossible to accurately assign a cost-per-garnish amount to your finished drinks.
When you buy dehydrated garnishes, if they’re not ‘by the piece’ then the containers usually come with an ‘average contents’ statement – both will give you the ability to nail down your per-unit costing, and manage your inventory with ease.
7. Dehydrated Citrus Holds Aromatics More Effectively
When you strip the water out of anything, it usually intensifies the remaining ingredients. Garnishes are no different.
We’re talking about aromas, mostly – we’ve found that in terms of flavour, they don’t offer much of a boost. But the increased aromas that they impart can be used to a bartender’s advantage. (And they are still completely edible, just in case an overenthusiastic patron decides to mow down on one.)
For the real pros, you can also rest assured that a customer won’t squeeze a wheel or wedge of lemon or lime into their cocktail, throwing out the balance you’ve worked so hard to create.
Dehydrated garnishes have a ton of benefits – with a really wide range of applications. There’s so much to learn about which fruits and vegetables you can dehydrate, and the best ways to use them. If your curiosity has been piqued, check out the Nimble Bartending School – we’ll up your bar game, whether you’re a home enthusiast or aspiring professional.