You know what separates your home cocktails from cocktails made at the best bars in the world?

Ok, aside from the fact that they often have hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment, and get worldwide recognition for their cocktails?

Those bars have seriously  impressive garnishes.

I’m willing to bet that when you’re at home, your garnish game could probably use some work.

Maybe you throw the occasional orange peel in your negroni, or add a lime wedge to a daiquiri, but chances are you don’t really take your garnishes seriously.

Well, there’s one easy thing you can do to level up your cocktail garnishes:

Add a cocktail pick.

Yep, the cocktail pick is one of the most overlooked items when it comes to a home bar. Every home bartender should have a set of cocktail picks – especially if you’re someone that entertains on a regular basis.

But trust me, this isn’t just about garnishes. A cocktail pick is one of the most versatile items in your home bar.

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you.

In this post I’m going to share 4 reasons why the cocktail pick will be both an essential part of your home bar, while simultaneously making your life easier this holiday season.

1) Use a Cocktail Pick to Elevate your Drink Garnishes

Let’s start with what we already know: a beautiful cocktail pick will make your garnishes better. 

You might be inclined to just use a toothpick with a cocktail cherry on it. That works in a pinch, but when you use a real cocktail pick, the presentation is much more professional and I suspect you’ll just feel a whole lot better about your cocktail creation.

Three olives on a beautiful metal pick are going to look much better than just dropping the olive in a glass or using a standard toothpick.

It’s little things like this, that the world’s best bartenders know, that the amateur usually overlooks.

2) Cocktail Picks Provide Limitless Holiday Appetizer Ideas

The best thing about buying a quality set of cocktail picks is the versatility. Sure, it works well for your drinks, but you can use those same picks for your holiday party appetizers as well.

Whether you provide one to each of your guests for fondue, or have a tray of delicious appetizers that you want to elevate – a stainless steel cocktail pick can be an easy way to add an extra layer of elegance to your soirée.

3) Doing Some Holiday Baking? Throw Away Those Toothpicks

If your house is anything like mine, there’s a lot of baking going on during the holidays. Pies, cakes, crumbles, cookies – you name it!

For years, I’d go into the cupboard each time I baked and grab a toothpick when the alarm beeped to ensure that our baked goods were done. But now we have a little dish of cocktail picks that sits right above our oven that I grab instead.

Honestly? Toothpicks work! And it’s not like it makes a huge difference. But I love how these beautiful cocktail picks look sitting on my counter – so much better than a box of cheap toothpicks.

So while you might not buy a set specifically for this reason, I think it’s a great side benefit!

4) Cocktail Picks Make the Ultimate Stocking Stuffer

This might be the most important item on the list.

For years I’ve struggled to find the best cocktail gifts for friends and family in my life. 

Whether it’s a hostess gift at a dinner party, stocking stuffer for a family member, or simply a small token of your appreciation for a friend – I’ve found that high quality cocktail picks make an excellent gift.

Not only are they versatile and classy, but I’ve found they are something that even cocktail connoisseurs don’t typically have. It’s just one of those items that is constantly overlooked.

And it always makes me smile when during subsequent visits to their house, they serve drinks using the picks that were gifted and comment on how they were surprised at just how often they use them.

5) They’re Infinitely Reusable and Create Less Waste

When it comes to sustainability and being mindful of the environment, it’s often not the major things that make the biggest difference. It’s all the small actions that lead to big change.

By using steel cocktail picks, you’re creating less waste as they’re infinitely reusable. It will both save you money over the long term and be better for the environment as well.

Which Cocktail Picks to Buy?

There are all kinds of cocktail picks out there. There’s the lowly plastic swizzle stick, cheap one-time-use bamboo sticks – but neither of those ever scream “class,” and neither is great for the environment.

If you’re going to invest in some cocktail picks for your home bar, I’d recommend getting a set of reusable steel picks. Check out A Bar Above’s cocktail picks. They look great, are environmentally friendly, and tick all of the boxes for the 5 points I mentioned above.

I personally opted for a set of 6 short and 6 long picks, as it gives me versatility for any kind of drink.

If I’m adding a cocktail cherry to an old fashioned for instance, the shorter picks are perfect for this.

Or if I’m making a tiki drink, I can layer on all sorts of things as a garnish to the longer picks. (These are also my go-to picks for epic Bloody Marys.)

There are a lot of ways you can elevate and improve your cocktails, but I’ve found cocktail picks are one of the easiest and most underrated ways to level up your drinks.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the founder of Slightly Pretentious, where he writes about cocktail recipes and is on a quest to visit the top 100 bars in the world. When he's not doing that he can probably be found on a golf course, or sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.