Cocktail garnishes can seem superfluous, and they are if we’re talking about paper umbrellas or the strange skewers of food topping Bloody Marys. But a true garnish is more than simply ornamentation. It adds an essence to the drink. It contributes to the alchemy that transforms a group of ingredients into a cohesive cocktail. One that you experience, not just by taste but by smell and sight as well. The history of the cocktail garnish is as cloudy as a long night of drinking, but it’s definitely not a new practice. The Jerry Thomas bartenders manual from the late 1800s has instructions on the classic lemon twist, so it’s safe to say that garnishes have been around for a while. And they’re certainly not going anywhere. Herewith, everything you should know about finishing your drinks.