The Secret To Delightful Cocktails

January 6, 2014 | By | Comments (3)

vieux carre sl l The Secret To Delightful CocktailsThrough many a wasted shot of liquor in failed attempts at making cocktails, I stumbled upon a trick that often turns a so-so cocktail into a “This is delightful!” cocktail. The secret is fresh citrus peel. A simple twist of citrus peel adds essential oils and a burst of flavor onto the surface of the cocktail, enhancing its “nose” or “scent.”

As you take your first sip, the fresh citrus aroma from the glass primes the palate. To make a twist, slice off a strip of citrus peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler and gently squeeze it over a cocktail before serving. Lemon and orange are the most universal and will go with just about any spirit. Lime, grapefruit, and tangerine are a little more tricky, but should be used as an accent to any cocktail that contains those juices.

Recently I gave up the beloved maraschino cherry in my Manhattan and substituted it with a simple strip of orange peel. It has added richness and complexity to the drink and is slowly becoming a favorite. My suggestion is to make a few of your favorite go-to cocktails and finish them by squeezing a swatch of citrus peel over the surface of the drink–you may become hooked. One problem may arise though: You can end up with a bunch of naked lemons, limes, and oranges in your fridge. The solution: Squeeze the juice and freeze in a ice cube tray. That way, you can thaw it out later and use it in punches or other cocktails. Cheers!

5 Cocktails To Try with Citrus Peels
Vieux Carre
Grapefruit Tequila Fizz
Cucumber Gin and Tonic
Sparkling Charleston Cosmopolitan

Learn How To Make a Lemon Twist Garnish


  1. Ella

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    January 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm
  2. Claire Rock (@clairerock)

    I used this trick over Christmas to add a grapefruit peel to grapefruit martinis! Very professional.

    January 9, 2014 at 9:25 am
  3. philippegbois

    Great point for the home bar. A small “industry trick” that adds the robust flavour or citrus throughout the entire cocktail. Express the oils before you strain the cocktail into the glass. This is also a great way to illustrate to your guests the flavour the peel imparts. Express into the empty (chilled) glass first:).

    January 7, 2014 at 8:57 am

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