An herbs flavour and aroma comes from the essential oils inside, and knowing how to release those oils properly is important. For plate and cocktail garnishes, a simple way to release those oils is with a good slap.
Picture: Steven Depolo/Flickr
When you're actually cooking with the herb, chopping or mincing is fine, but garnishes require a different kind of rough treatment. Andrew Knowlton, the Restaurants and Drinks editor at Bon Appetit, suggests slapping the leaves to release all of the herb's aroma and flavour. Just place the leaf or leaves in your palm and give it a nice firm smack. The slap breaks down some of the cell structure in the herb, which in turn releases the oils. Now you get the flavour enhancement without a crushed, chopped or muddled mess.
How to Do the Herb Slap for a Proper Cocktail Garnish [Bon Appetit via WonderHowTo]