Use This Unexpected Kitchen Tool To Peel Citrus For Cocktail Garnishes

Along with mastering some of the most essential cocktails, any aspiring home bartender should be seriously developing their custom garnish skills. Knowing when to add a sprig of mint, lemon wedge, orange peel, or salt rim may not seem like the most important aspect of mixology, but this skill goes beyond simply visual appeal.

It might seem like that olive soaking up your martini is just for show, but it's actually there for good reason, and it can also add a lot to your cocktail. For example, an olive placed in an Aperol Spritz can turn this summertime favorite from bittersweet to bright and vibrant. As Wine Enthusiast points out, having a lime wedge in your gin and tonic also lets you decide how much citrus you want to add to your cocktail. Feel like your drink is a little bland? Give that lime a squeeze, then, and change things up.

Wine Enthusiast adds that it can also add aroma to your drink. Our sense of smell has a huge influence on our ability to taste as well, and having an orange slice expressed — that's a fancy word for squeezed — into your Negroni helps your taste buds to brace for the subtle citrus notes they're about to experience.

A cheese slicer makes for perfect citrus peels

Portland mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler reports that some of the trouble with preparing these sorts of garnishes is using the right tool. He says that the classic tool in most bars is the Y-peeler, a vegetable peeler where the blade is held suspended over the handle, giving it a Y shape. Morgenthaler notes that not only does using the Y-peeler for citrus peels take a lot of practice to get just right, it's also dangerous. He almost lost a nail to the peeler's blade, and knows plenty of other bartenders who have cut their hands and fingers when working in a rush.

Instead, he recommends using a more unexpected kitchen tool — a cheese slicer. Morgenthaler says that because the blade is cut out of a solid, spatula-shaped piece of metal, the rest of the object acts like a guard, keeping your fingers out of harms way. On top of that, Epicurious reports that it cuts perfectly sized citrus peels that tend to hold a stylish curl better than their Y-peeled counterparts. Morgenthaler also demonstrated how to carefully use both tools over on his YouTube page. So leave that Y-peeler to skinning potatoes, and reach for your cheese slicer instead.