Cocktail 101: More Fun with Citrus Garnishes


As a brief follow-up to last week's garnish instruction, I wanted to point out a couple more simple ways to prepare a citrus peel garnish.

This week you'll master the rustic swath and the dainty spiral.

What you'll need:

  • One fresh piece of citrus fruit, preferably organic. (Last week's warning about pesticides and citrus wax still stands.)
  • Y-shaped vegetable peeler
  • Channel knife (also included on some zesters)
  • Cocktail pick, skewer, or something similar.

Rustic Swath


Suppose you want a rustic swath of peel instead of a trim twist. This is so easy, even your drunken uncle could do it.

What you'll do:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off a wide strip of zest, from one pole of the fruit to the other.
  2. Twist the zest over your cocktail to express the oils. Discard it or garnish, as you please.

Dainty Spiral

This twist requires a little more finesse. You might ask your uncle to step away from the home bar and let you take over.

What you'll do:

  1. Using a channel knife, carefully cut a thin strip of peel in a spiral around the fruit. It takes some practice for most people to keep from prematurely cutting through the peel, so don't fret if the first strip you cut isn't perfect.
  1. Take the strip of peel and twist it around the shaft of a cocktail pick or barbecue skewer.
  1. Pull the strip taut around the pick or skewer. (Be careful not to break the strip!)
  1. You should wind up with a spiral of lemon peel, like this:
  1. Place provocatively on the edge of your glass and enjoy.

More Cocktail Technique

How to Stir »
How to Shake »
How to Strain »
How to Garnish with a Citrus Twist »
How to Plan and Host a Cocktail Party »
How to Make Drinks in Advance »