The perfect Cocktail Pick - this is what you need to know

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 21, 2023

Cocktail picks made of metal are a common and popular way to garnish your drink. They are decorative, practical, and sustainable, too. But what does make a good cocktail pick?
cocktail pick header

A cocktail pick, also called a cocktail stick, is often used in bars as a skewer to spear garnish fruits for cocktails. It's a thin, elongated piercing tool with a decorative handle at the top. 

A cocktail pick can come in various sizes, ranging from 2.5 to 6 inches. The spear part is usually round, sometimes also flat-oval or angular. 

It holds the decoration on your cocktail. And depending on what you want to skewer on it, you have to choose your cocktail pick material.

How long is a cocktail pick?

As mentioned already, the length of a cocktail pick can vary. Usually, it is between 2.5 and 6 inches. Standardized cocktail picks are between 4.5 - 5 inches long, including the decorative end. 

The decorative item at the top is usually around 1 inch long, so the actual cocktail stick measures between 3.5 and 4 inches.

Depending on how you intend to use it, you might want to look for longer or shorter versions. 

Cocktail pick on Dill Pickle Martini

For example, if you want to position the cocktail pick on top of a glass, you should check the diameter of said glass. Make sure the cocktail pick can comfortably sit on the rim without falling in.

If you want to stick it into a small Coupe or Martini Glass, it might make sense to use a shorter pick. And also one with an end that's more lightweight. 

Otherwise, it can easily tip over the rim of the glass and mess up your cocktail presentation.

How thick is a cocktail pick?

Regardless if your cocktail pick is wooden, plastic, metal, or bamboo: the standard thickness is around 0,1 inch (or 2.5 mm)

That makes the cocktail stick thin enough to spear olives, cherries, or raspberries yet strong enough not to break while preparing the decoration. 

Cocktail pick length thick

Especially bamboo and plastic picks will still break sometimes. -For instance, when facing a rebellious olive.

Best Material for cocktail picks

Cocktail picks also come in different materials: bamboo, wood, plastic, glass, and metal. 

I prefer cocktail picks with a metal stick, while the decorative handle can be different materials. They are reusable, easy to clean, elegant, and durable. 

Most other materials are too fragile, not 100% hygienic when used more than once, or intended for one-time use only. But to give you an overview, those are your usual choices:

  • Bamboo Pick: The cheapest ones are usually bamboo sticks which are supposed to be used only once.
  • Wooden Cocktail Pick: An alternative is a wooden cocktail pick, which is quite similar to the bamboo version.
  • Plastic Cocktail Pick: There's a chance that you can use them multiple times. Just be aware that they're prone to crack - depending on price and quality. Plus, average plastic cocktail picks are not much of an environment-friendly solution.
  • Glass Pick: Very delicate, mostly handmade, and unique. Using a glass stick is a sophisticated way to pierce your cocktail garnish. However, you have to be very cautious and treat them with care. Otherwise, they won't last. In a bar, it's also not ideal because glass splinters could end up in a drink of tipsy customers.
  • Metal Cocktail Pick: Very robust and available in many designs. The all-metal picks are a perfect choice for your home bar. They can be used multiple times and are easy to clean.

What to put on a cocktail stick

The sky is the limit. There are endless possibilities, but the classics would be maraschino cherries, olives, raspberries, grapes, and flowers

Angel Face Cocktail Maraschino cherry apples

However, don't be afraid to be creative. Cocktail picks with the speared garnish can elevate your cocktail in a fancy way. 

Think about your cocktail and its ingredients to find out what could complement or enhance its flavors.

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