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January 29, 2018

Experts' Experts — Do different ways of using citrus peel to garnish cocktails produce different tastes?

Zz

Above, the lead question in the January & February 2013 issue of Cook's Illustrated's Notes From Readers section.

The good people at that magazine — as obsessive a group as ever existed outside Jony Ive's secret studio in Cupertino — drilled down deep as only they do to bring us all back enlightenment, in the form of the following reply.

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 "swatch," 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.

January 29, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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