How to make a Lemon Twist

Lemon Twists are a fun, easy cocktail garnish to elevate your mixed drinks at home. Learn how to make a lemon twist, as well as learn my tips and tricks!

A lemon twist stands on a cutting board next to lemon slices

Look, I’m just a mama who loves to host her friends for happy hour and super casual dinner parties.

While I’m no bartender and have no experience behind a bar professionally, I’ve found the little things make the drinks you make at home.

Little things include cocktail (or drink) garnishes, like these lemon twists. Not only do they add the wow factor, but you can use them in literally any drink that involves lemon (or the citrus you make a twist from.)

Why I love lemon twists:

These citrus cocktail garnishes look fancy, but they’re actually quite simple to make if you have the right tools.

If you’re looking to elevate your at-home cocktail game or want to impress guests in the near future with your bartending skills, you’ve got to add this to your repertoire.

Drinks that you can add a twist cocktail garnish to: Spiked Blueberry Lemonade | Lemon Drop Martini | Pomegranate French 75 | Spiked Watermelon Limeade (but with a lime twist!) | Vodka Lemonade with Raspberry

Just want to make a drink at home? Head on over to my Cocktail Recipe Index for some ideas!

A lemon with a paring knife on a wooden cutting board

 What you need to make this cocktail garnish

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You need 1-2 lemons, depending on how many twists you are planning to make. Make sure they’re at room temperature because they’ll be easier to work with.

You’re also going to need some tools to do this. I’m listing all the tools you could purchase for this, though this tutorial is to make a twisted garnish with a knife because that’s the way I’ve always done it.

  • Sharp knife, like a paring knife, and cutting board
  • A vegetable peeler—this will make for thicker, more rustic twists. You can use a knife to clean up the sides before twisting it together
  • A channel knife—this will make for thinner lemon twists.
Collage of four images showing how to trim and cut a lemon peel from the lemon

How to make a lemon twist

Cut a round of lemon with sharp knife, and slice through one side of the peel.

Use your knife or your hands to gently pull the lemon flesh and pith away from the peel. If necessary, trim any additional white pith from the peel.

Fun fact: The pith actually what will give the lemon twist its shape… but too much of the pith left on the peel will make for a bitter drink.

Twist the peel onto itself, using a finger or a straw as a guide. It should hold its shape.

Serve on your favorite mixed drink as a cocktail garnish!

Different ways to make a Lemon Twist Cocktail Garnish

If you don’t feel like going the knife route, you can make a lemon twist with the following tools:

  • A vegetable peeler* (affiliate link) will make for thicker, more rustic twists. You can use a knife to straighten up the sides before twisting it.
  • A channel knife* (affiliate link) will make for thinner lemon twists.

Honestly, this all just depends on the look you like and the tools you have on hand. Personally, I like using my paring knife because I can determine the thickness of the twist easily that way.

Collage of two images showing how to make a lemon cocktail garnish

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a twist of lemon mean?

It’s a cocktail garnish that is simply the peel of the lemon that’s twisted into a corkscrew shape. To get this to happen, you have to remove the fruit and the pith before shaping the peel.

What is a twist of lemon in a martini?

It’s a garnish that adds some citrus to a drink, like a martini.

How do you store lemon twists?

To store a lemon twist, simply place them in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for 3-4 days.

Can I use this technique to make other citrus twists, like a lime twist or an orange twist?

Yes! Take the same idea here and use it on another type of citrus to get another garnish.

A pile of lemon twists on a wooden cutting board

Quick tips and tricks to the best lemon twists

  • Use room temperature citrus! The peel will be more malleable that way.
  • The pith helps the peel keep its shape… but too much will add bitterness to your drink. If you’ve got a thick layer on the back of your peel, use a knife to cut it off.
  • Store in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after making these lemon twists. So you can make ‘em ahead of time if you’re hosting friends and want to have several on hand.

Looking for a way to use these cocktail garnishes? Here are a few drinks to add them to…

A cocktail twist sits on top of a purple drink
A lemon twist stands on a cutting board next to lemon slices
Yield: 5 lemon twists

How to make a Lemon Twist

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Lemon Twists are a fun, easy cocktail garnish to elevate your mixed drinks at home. Learn how to make a lemon twist, as well as learn my tips and tricks!

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Slice off the ends of the lemon—these won’t be possible to transform into lemon twists.
  2. Cut a round off a room temperature lemon with sharp knife. Slice through one side of the peel.
  3. Use your knife or your hands to gently pull the lemon flesh and pith away from the peel. If necessary, trim any additional white pith from the peel. (The pith will give the lemon twist its structure, so we want there to be a little, but too much will translate to bitterness being added to your drink.)
  4. Twist the peel onto itself, using a finger or a straw as a guide. It should hold its shape.
  5. Serve on your favorite mixed drink as a cocktail garnish!

Notes

Quick tips and tricks to the best lemon twists

  • Use room temperature citrus! The peel will be more malleable that way.
  • The pith helps the peel keep its shape… but too much will add bitterness to your drink. If you’ve got a thick layer on the back of your peel, use a knife to cut it off.
  • Store in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after making these lemon twists. So you can make ‘em ahead of time if you’re hosting friends and want to have several on hand.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 5Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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2 Comments

  1. Love all of your tips, hacks and comments, I feel confident now taking a stab at these twists for our cocktails tomorrow night!

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