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Drinks4/27/17
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How to Make 5 Different Citrus Garnishes

Learn the easiest ways to add flair to your cocktails

What would an old-fashioned be without an orange twist, a mojito without its lime rounds, a Sazerac without a curlicue of lemon rind? These tiny touches can transform any regular ol' beverage to an elegant cocktail, and simple citrus garnishes are a great starting point. Here are five easy ways to upgrade your cocktail game.

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We use limes to demonstrate these methods, but just about any type of citrus fruit can be substituted.

① The Wedge Cut a third of each end off of the lime and reserve the middle for juicing or adding to sangria. Place the fruit flat-side down and make an angled slice on either side of the spine. This should create a picture-perfect wedge with each triangle of lime segment displayed. Just right for rimming a margarita.

The Slice If you're strapped for time, this is your go-to. Cut the lime crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Drop the slices directly into your drink, or make a small slit into one of the slice's center and slide it onto the rim.

The Curl While you could use a channel knife for a similar effect,  this technique gives you a sturdy piece of zest you can manipulate as needed. Cut off a ⅛-inch-thick chunk of citrus. Skim your knife tightly along the inside of the peel and remove the flesh from the middle, making sure to dispose of as much of the bitter white pith as possible. Take the strip of zest and coil it, then drape it along edge of glass.

The Strip  This simple twist looks classy in any drink. Use a peeler or a knife to carve off a long, wide piece of zest. Feel free to give it a squeeze over your drink's surface to release the oils and flavor before dropping it in or hanging it on the rim.

The Show-Off  We saved the best for last with this fun trick.  Scrape off a nice, thick strip of zest; hold it over your cocktail; then strike a match or light a lighter underneath the peel. When you're ready, give the zest a good squeeze. The oils will crackle and spark. This trick not only provides a show, but it also lightly caramelizes the oils as they float into the drink, intensifying their flavor. When you're done, drop the zest into the cocktail.

Watch the video for a step-by-step guide and never leave your drink unadorned again.