How to: Flame a Citrus Peel

Try this technique next time you make a Manhattan or a mezcal- or rum-based Old Fashioned.

Ted Gallagher has led the progressive beverage program at Boston’s Craigie On Main for more than two years. Try this technique next time you make a Manhattan or a mezcal- or rum-based Old Fashioned.


Choose a navel orange or a lemon with a waxy, thick skin. The thicker the skin, the better the oil content.


Cut an oval disk off the rounded side of the fruit. The disk should be about 1 inch in diameter with some pith, but none of the fruit’s flesh. 


Hold the disk between your thumb and middle finger, pith side facing your palm. Light a match, and hold it 3–4 inches over the rim of the cocktail glass, warming the peel for 5 seconds. At a 45-degree angle an inch or so above the flame, quickly fold the peel and express the oil.

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