Garnishing a cocktail is such a crucial part of cocktail making.
The art of garnish is not only to make it visually appealing, but it is often an ingredient in the drink itself—allowing the consumer to know exactly what is in the cocktail.
Using citrus as a garnish is an easy way to give any cocktail a little flavor and add to the presentation of the drink. It’s one of the easiest and most common ways to add garnish to a drink.
Citrus is a critical component of cocktail making. Drinks like Negronis and an Old Fashioned need the orange rind to make them complete. It brings sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and acidity to cocktails. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular garnish.
When using citrus as a garnish, it’s important to keep in mind the freshness of the item used—the fresher and firmer, the better the garnish. Also, storing your citrus at room temperature is key to making sure its aroma and flavor are at the maximum oil extraction. Keeping at room temperature will also allow for an easier cut on the citrus.
There are a few different ways to create a citrus garnish. If you don’t have great knife skills, try using a vegetable peeler instead. You can even use the vegetable peeler to remove the peel, then a knife to clean up or carve the citrus, depending on the design you want. The white part of the inner peel is more bitter and strong in flavor. When cutting the garnish, make sure to remove as much of the white layer as possible. Keeping a little bit of that layer can result in the garnish retaining its shape, depending on the type of cut you are trying to achieve.
When it comes to cutting the citrus, different peeling techniques are good to know. One of the biggest things is to apply even pressure while moving the peeler or the knife across the surface. In doing this, you are going to have an event thickness for your garnish. The garnish can be either the peel, a wheel, or a wedge.
Typically, when a peel is used as a garnish, it’s also used to add aroma. This technique is called expressing. By holding the exterior side toward the top of the drink and giving a squeeze, a spray of citrus oils will release into the drink. Then, rub the exterior along the rim of the glass to add some of the oils to each sip. Drop the peel into the cocktail for extra flavor.
Next time you make a Manhattan or Martini, add a citrus garnish.