Garnish with Citrus Zest

Garnish with Citrus Zest

what you need to garnish with citrus zest

  • Citrus
  • Y-Peeler
  • Recipe and Cocktail Ingredients how to garnish with citrus zest

The reason to use freshly zested citrus is for the highly aromatic oils, which enhance the flavor and aromas of your finished cocktails. Let's peel some zest!

  1. Select your citrus, for demonstration purposes we'll be creating an orange swath.
  2. Place your Y-peeler across the midsection of the fruit.
  3. You are going to cradle the fruit in your non-dominant hand, and apply pressure to the orange to gently push it UP into the blades of the peeler.
  4. While you are pushing the fruit up, place your thumb onto the handle of the Y peeler and drag it backwards. You can then reach up with your left hand (that’s holding the orange) to secure and hold the end of peel in place, while you slowly rotate the orange.
  5. If you find that your blades are sticking, you can wiggle the peeler back and forth to keep the peeler moving until you get a nice wide swath of orange.

Zest can be fancy too!

  1. If you’d like to take your garnish to the next level, you can trim the freshly peeled swath.
  2. Use a small knife, like a sharp paring knife, to trim off any jagged edges by slicing across the peel to trim it neatly, rotate and repeat for the other edges.
  3. If you want to get super professional, use a ruler for extra crisp lines. If you'd like a slightly more rustic look, you can always opt to leave some edges “raw.” You can get very fancy and cut your citrus zest into any variety of shapes, experimenting with negative space and zig zags. These are all called 'manicured peels' by the bar world.

Express the fragrant oil!

  1. Take your freshly peeled orange zest, and fold your swath like a taco, pith facing you, perpendicular to the glass and exert pressure on the fold to express the oils over the drink.
  2. Did you see little droplets of oil expressed from the peel in a tiny puffy cloud of flavor? No? Try again! Make sure the pith (white part) is facing you, otherwise you will spray yourself with orange flavors instead. Yes? Hooray! Next step. :)
  3. Using the remaining oils on the skin of the peel, gently wipe around the perimeter of the glass to increase the aromatics and flavors with each sip. If you are serving in a coupe glass, you can also gently wipe the stem to impart orange flavor to the guests' hands.
  4. You can then place the orange peel into the drink or discard.

tips for garnishing with citrus zest

  • Want to practice your peeled citrus techniques? You can also peel the fruit vertically to get more swaths of zest per citrus. Still need more? You can peel all your citrus before you use them for juice! Just be sure to keep the peeled swaths of zest covered and/or refrigerated. Dry citrus doesn't express oil very well and that's just no fun.
  • Nice long peeled swath, manicured shapes, and expressed oils still aren't enough for you? Take your garnish game to the next level with our Flamed Orange Zest video and win the home bartender showmanship award! (It never fails to impress your guests).
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