Doing the Cocktail Twist
Do the different ways of using citrus peel to garnish cocktails produce different tastes?
There are three common citrus garnishes for cocktails: The first is a “twist,” a simple disk of citrus peel that is squeezed into the drink to release essential oils and then rubbed around the rim of the glass and discarded. The second is a “flamed twist,” in which a flame is held between the drink and the peel so that when the peel is squeezed, its oils ignite briefly. The third type is a “swath,” a band of zest with a little pith attached that is twirled and placed in the drink. We made all three types of garnishes with orange peel and tasted each in a simple Negroni cocktail. We found that the twist contributed bright orange notes that enlivened the drink. The flamed twist offered sulfurous undertones and had a somewhat subdued orange fragrance. The swath added citrus notes along with mild bitterness from the pith. In sum, fancy citrus garnishes are more than just ornamental: Your choice should hinge on the flavor profile you’re trying to create.