How to Flame a Citrus Peel

Flaming an orange twist isn’t just an impressive trick—although it does look really cool. It also imparts a charred, smoky citrus flavor to the cocktail. While only a handful of recipes call for flaming a peel, it’s a necessary skill to have in your bartending arsenal.


Cutting board

Step One

Cut a coin sized section of citrus peel away from your hand. Make sure you cut deep enough to get just a bit of pith along with the zest.

Step Two

Light a match and hold it in your non-dominant hand. Note: Never use a lighter—not only does it not work as well, but it will also flavor your cocktail with a hint of butane.

Step Three

Hold the citrus peel in your dominant hand between your thumb and your pointer finger, with the pith facing you. Tilt the peel 45-degrees and, holding it above the cocktail, squeeze the twist into the flame, igniting the expressed citrus oils. If you see a quick burst of sparks, you’ve done it correctly.

Step Four

Discard the citrus peel and the match.