Yes, Cocktail Garnishes May Be Eaten–but there is a correct way to eat them!

Drink Garnishes

Cocktails are oftentimes garnished with fruits and/or vegetables: martinis with olives; Gibsons with onions; Bloody Marys with celery stalks; mint juleps with fresh mint leaves; and Crucian rum punch with cherries and pineapple wedges, for example. And yes, it is proper to eat such garnishes—if they are eaten properly. Reaching into a Martini glass after the liquid has been drunk to retrieve an olive is one thing: After all, the glass is shallow and wide. Diving one’s hand, middle finger-first, into a tall rum punch glass in an attempt to fish out a rogue cherry is another. Hard-to-reach garnishes should be reached by tilting the glass forward as one’s head is tilted backwards. And if that does not dislodge garnish, it should be deferred—in the name of decorum. Tapping the bottom of the glass or frantically trying to fish out a garnish with a straw is simply not acceptable for anyone beyond the age of ten. Inedible portions of a garnish should be placed to the left of the glass onto its cocktail napkin. In the absence of a cocktail napkin, remaining portions of the garnish should be placed into the glass—not, under any circumstances, onto a bare tabletop.

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