Friday Afternoon Cocktail: Twist Like We Did Last Summer
More than one commenter on this new series has asked for a few pointers on various basics of cocktail-making. Today let's answer one of the key questions about the proper way to make a twist, and use that in a drink designed to cool anyone down on a hot day.
Here's the thing about asking for a twist: in my experience, 9 times out of 10, you'll get something that's an embarrassment to the idea. You'll end up with a withered bit of lemon that's been sitting on the bar half the day, or a full slice of lemon as if you'd ordered an iced tea. The other day I watched in horror in Washington, D.C.'s Oceanaire as a bartender prepared their twists for drinks by chopping off both ends of a lemon with a butcher knife, cutting out the center, and then slicing the thick rind of it into chunks. This will not do, people.
The key to a good twist is understanding that what you're really trying to get at is that wonderful, flavorful zest that citrus fruits throw off. Without that, it's just a bit of floating color in your glass. Instead, you want a nice thin strand, cut with a peeler. Here's an excellent video guide from the folks at CHOW:
Now, your twist need not be as dramatic as this fellow's - but the same general principle applies - and be sure to cut it above the glass, and if you can't smell it in the air as you're cutting it, you're doing it wrong. If you'd like to apply that twist today, why not try a Lemon Drop? It's a cocktail many of my friends in the fairer sex approve of, and it's a fine sweet citrusy treat for the summer. One tip: avoid mixes for Lemon Drops, as they tend to be disgustingly sweet. My own suggestion:
2 parts vodka (for cocktails like this, I suggest Grey Goose)
.75 part fresh lemon juice (fresh makes a difference!)
.5 part Cointreau
.5 part Simple Syrup
Combine in a shaker with ice, shake til frigid, pour into a martini glass and add your lemon twist. Feel free to adjust the amounts of Simple Syrup and lemon juice depending on your tilt toward tart or sweet. Enjoy!