Great Balls of Fire - Aviation American Gin

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Great Balls of Fire

What is our fascination with fire anyway? Capture I have ironically chosen the profession of playing with ice, perfecting the balance of dilution and the race against heat. In all my experience of teaching and training bartenders and consumers how to make craft cocktails, I always find it interesting how we are so educated in heating ingredients to make a delicious meal for example, but find it difficult to understand how to cool ingredients to serve a eye opening, mouth watering cocktail.   So without further adieu, I introduce something magical, and easy to understand that can wow your guests, and add a little bit more depth in the flavor in some of your favorite cocktails, The Flamed Orange Peel!!   Here’s how you do it:

  1. Cut a round “coin” of orange peel, primarily pith, and as think as possible without getting into the flesh
  2. Light a match or lighter and hold the flame several inches above the cocktail.
  3. Hold the orange coin about two inches above the lit flame. Let it warm up over the flame for a couple seconds so it really lights up.
  4. Squeeze the coin with your forefinger and thumb over the flame in a quick pressing motion, almost squeezing it in half.

For a great how to, check out this post from Serious Eats. So cool right?! What does this do you ask? Well, when you express the oils from any citrus peel over a cocktail it sprinkles delightful and bright flavors that excite your palate, just as lemon peel does in a homemade gremolta.  Try a 50/50 aperitif martini, equal parts Aviation gin, a newly opened bottle of dry vermouth, and a couple of dashes of orange bitters, stirred up to a cold temperature with and without the much needed zested lemon peel, and you’ll see what I mean. Flaming the peel literally works like candying the oils and changes the flavor as it falls over the surface of the drink. Drop the zested orange coin in the drink for more intensity or leave it out. It’s not only flavor enhancer; it also grabs your guest’s attention and feeds our fascination with fire. I would say don’t try this at home, but that’s a bit of an oxy moron, so please just be careful. 😉   – Brooke Arthur, Director of On Premise Education and Outreach, House Spirits Distillery

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