Garnish with Flamed Citrus Zest

Garnish with Flamed Citrus Zest

what you need to garnish with a flamed citrus zest

  • Citrus
  • Y-Peeler
  • Lighter or Matches
  • Recipe and Cocktail Ingredients

how to garnish with flamed citrus zest

The principle behind a flamed zest is the same as any zest, really. You're squeezing oil out of the peel and onto the surface of the cocktail. In this case, though, you're squeezing it through a flame, which lightly caramelizes the oil and subtly enhances its flavor. Let's peel an orange!

  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 backward. 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.

Need help peeling your zest? Watch our Citrus Zest Video!

  1. Take your freshly peeled orange zest, and fold your swath like a taco, pith facing you, perpendicular to the glass.
  2. With your other hand, light a flame with a match or lighter and carefully warm the outside of the peel.
  3. Hold the lighter an inch or so in front of the peel, between the zest and the glassware.
  4. Gently exert pressure on the fold to express the oils through the flame to create a quick burst of fiery orange oils.
  5. Did you see little droplets of oil expressed from the peel into a burst of flamed flavor? No? Try again! Make sure the pith (white part) is facing you, otherwise you will spray yourself with orange flavors instead.
  6. 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.
  7. You can then place the orange peel into the drink or discard.


tips for garnishing with flamed citrus zest

  • Please use caution when attempting any garnish that involves flames or fire.
  • Using a lighter is easier than using a match.
  • Warming the peel slightly on the exterior help release the oils and makes the technique much easier to accomplish.
  • This is definitely one to practice a few times before showing off to friends, but once you nail it, it will always impress your guests!
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