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Garnish with a flourish for impressive holiday drinks

Some heretics will tell you it’s OK to add candy to a drink, like red-and-green ribbon candy to act as a swirl stick, or pop rocks to coat the rim of the glass. The Divas are here to tell you: it’s not OK. Just so we’re clear, the only candy allowed in drinks is marshmallows in hot chocolate.

We do encourage you to decorate your drinks, however. The approved materials are fruit, flowers, herbs and arils. (More on that below.)

Oranges become the stars

For a fruity drink like spiked lemonade, create a flourish with orange peel. This requires a steady hand and an ability to draw a star. With a washable marker lightly draw a star on the side of an orange. You can get three stars out of each orange. Use a knife to cut the star outline into the orange, and then gently peel the shape off the orange. Wash any marker off the star and cut a slit of a half-inch or so between two of the star’s arms, so you can fit the star over the rim of the glass. It will add a bright and aromatic decoration to your drink. Add another splash of color by floating a few frozen cranberries on the drink.

Making champagne even better

Most of us call them pomegranate seeds, but the proper name is “arils.” That describes the ruby fruit that includes the small seed. It’s all edible and they add color and flavor to a glass of champagne. Add a sprig of rosemary to stimulate your sense of smell and you have a beautiful presentation to go with the bubbles.

Shop for a selection of champagne glasses at 

From simple to complex

A wedge of pineapple, a sprig of basil, or a couple of dried apricots are all easy decorations that add color or flavor to a drink. Take more time and cut citrus zest spirals. The Divas will also allow a dusting of sugar on cranberries that you skewer on a toothpick. (That doesn’t make them candy.)

To make citrus zest spirals, use a tool called a canneleur to cut a thin strip in a lemon, lime or orange. Wrap the strip around a straw for a few seconds so it takes the form of a spiral. Hang the spiral twist on the edge of the glass.

Sugared cranberries have two benefits: They are not candy, and they will allow you to explain to your guests the detailed steps you took to entertain them. They look fancy on a skewer, too. Follow this recipe to make a cranberry look like a jewel.

Are you planning a New Year’s Day party? Build your own Bloody Mary bar.