You're Spritzing Cocktail Lemons All Wrong, According To Tony Abou-Ganim - Exclusive

Bartender expressing citrus
Bartender expressing citrus - Maksym Fesenko/Shutterstock

Have you ever lifted a cocktail to your nose and been hit with a beautiful burst of citrus scent? Chances are, that came from a sliver of peel — or, more specifically, the oils that scatter from the peel when the bartender releases them over the drink.

One way to spritz a drink — or express the oils, in bartender speak — is to torch the peel over the cocktail. While it's a cool trick, it can be pretty daunting for an amateur. But you don't need to be a cocktail pro to jazz up your drink with a simple lemon twist. Right?

No, but according to cocktail legend Tony Abou-Ganim, you're probably doing it wrong. The author of "Vodka Distilled" and "The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails," Abou-Ganim's accomplishments include winning the Bacardi Martini World Grand Prix and Iron Chef — not once, but three times. In short, he knows a thing or two about citrus peels. Instead of curling the peel into a cute little twist, Abou-Ganim told Tasting Table that you're supposed to fold it. You'll want to make the most of those aromatic oils, and twisting doesn't express as much oil as folding.

"What you want to do is express those oils because the oils become an ingredient in the drink," Abou-Ganim explained. "You could smell them, you can taste them. It's very subtle, but it is there, and without it's a different drink," he added.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

How To Spritz A Cocktail

negroni with citrus twist
negroni with citrus twist - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Okay, so you've been spritzing your drinks all wrong. In mixology, where subtle differences in technique can make or break a drink, you'll want to know how to do it right. Remember: While the citrus oils add some flavor to the drink, the real purpose is as an aromatic. Aromatic elements prime your brain and add nuance to cocktails like the classic Sazerac or vodka martini with a twist.

Using a fresh, ripe fruit, carefully cut a strip that's around one inch by three inches. It's the same technique whether you're using orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit peel. It should have a little bit of white pith, but not too much. The pith gives the peel stability but leaves a bitter taste if you overdo it. If you want, you can trim the edges for a neater look.

Now for the fold. Abou-Ganim folds a fairly wide piece of peel lengthwise, pith-side in. Then, he gives the peel a few quick, gentle squeezes over the top of the drink. After he has folded and squeezed the peel, he twists it a little. The folding and spritzing work has been done, and now twisting is fine, and that cute little curl adds a charming flair to the drink's appearance.

Read the original article on Tasting Table