“Extreme garnishing” was a legitimate foodie trend in 2014. It sounds absurd, and frankly, when you’re ordering a drink you want the drink, not the gigantic PIZZABURGERWICH that is skewered with a harpoon made of Sour Punch Straws. That’s not to say, though, that sometimes a little bit of outside the box garnishing is a bad thing. Take, for instance, a bloody mary with a little bit of brisket and a little bit of pulled pork to go with the bacon on a skewer. That’s not the standard olives and celery and slice of bacon, but it’s not a gaudy hamburger either. It’s beautiful.
I guess what I’m saying is that when you’re doing an extreme garnish, don’t go TOO extreme. Otherwise it overshadows the drink itself.
Admittedly, I’m a little late to the party on this but Houlihan’s at the iHotel might have the most inventive and fun drink in Champaign-Urbana right now and some of that has to do with the garnish. Sure, this particular garnish probably is not edible, but that’s not totally the point of a garnish anyway right? The dudes on Chopped sometimes just add stuff to the plate that’s not meant to be eaten (and then Geoffrey Zakarian gives them the death stare). If it's inventive and fun enough, the garnish can be aesthetic.
The drink at Houlihan’s I'm talking about is called the Shady Sunrise and it’s a pretty typical tequila sunrise with a twist that sets it apart — of course, it's the garnish. It’s garnished with gigantic souvenir sunglasses to make your drink look like it has a pretty awesome face. Putting sunglasses on objects to make them look like people is awesome, and this is about as good as it gets.
The catch to this, is that you’ve got about four days until Houlihan’s switches their special drink up, so get there soon and get a great springtime drink with gigantic sunglasses.