The cocktail is, in my opinion, America’s one truly great and unique contribution to the culinary world. Sure, there are the usual objections whenever I bring this up. What about pizza, jambalaya, hamburgers? But those foods we typically associate with American cuisine are little more than variations of European dishes, a reflection of the beautiful cultural smorgasbord that makes this country great.
Sure, since the mojito became the most popular drink ever, once again, it’s also become popular for bartenders and self-described cocktail geeks to complain about it: It’s pedestrian, it’s the new Cosmopolitan, it takes too long to make.
One popular trick behind the bar today dates back to 1970 in Los Angeles, was revived by Dale DeGroff in New York in the 1980s, and continues to be popular among bartenders everywhere, and that’s the flamed orange peel. Reportedly invented by bartender Pepe Ruiz for the flame of love cocktail created for Dean Martin, the trick involves holding an orange peel close to an open flame and briefly igniting the volatile oils over the surface of the drink.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil (cover the pot to speed things up). In the meantime, put some cold water and ice into a medium bowl, and arrange a double layer of paper towels on the counter.
Simple syrup is generally found in two strengths: Equal parts sugar and water, the most common strength in U.S. bars, is referred to as “one-to-one” (1:1). Two parts sugar to one part water is, as you might guess, referred to as 2:1, which is the standard syrup in U.K. bars; in the States, you’ll often hear 2:1 syrup being referred to as “rich simple syrup.”