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Mar 13, 2012 01:26 PM

best gadget to peel lemon twist from a fresh lemon? (plus rye whiskey cocktail chatter)

I've got a soft spot for OXO products and was about to buy the "OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler" but then thought I'd check here to see what others recommend for peeling lemons to use as a twist for cocktails.... I've been using a Y-peeler and it's not ideal. When I use a paring knife, I inevitably get too much pith on the peel. Derek Brown uses a swivel peeler and I can't for the life of me remember which brand he recommended.

Incidentally, the lemon twists are for my new favorite cocktail that I've been drinking nonstop for about a month -- the Vieux Carre Cocktail (recipe courtesy of a seminar I took from the Museum of the American Cocktail):
3/4 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz cognac
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso)
1/8 oz Benedictine (I use more - yum!)
2 dashes each of Angostura and Peychaud's bitters
Build drink in rocks glass with ice, stir until chilled and garnish with lemon peel.

For more rye whiskey recipes (and some American history) check out the Museum of the American Cocktail blog:

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  1. I use an Oxo straight peeler, and it's perfect for me - nice and thin with very little pith. It cuts a broader piece of the zest than a skinny little ribbon, but that's how I like it.

    And funny, the vieux carre is the drink that started me on making cocktails at home. What a great drink (though I go with 1 oz each of the rye, cognac and vermouth and 1/2 oz benedictine). Also, try Carpano Antica Formula vermouth instead - brings another layer of complexity to the proceedings.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monopod

      Thanks, monopod- and I will definitely take the vermouth suggestion! I actually increase all the ingredient amounts, too. :)

    2. A channel knife is what you need. They are inexpensive and cut the perfect size strip of peel. Sometimes they are part of a zester. Micorplane zesters have 2 channel knives on them of different sizes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        In my experience, the channel knife that's included as part of most zesters is useless. Usually very dull, making it impossible to cut a nice ribbon. Never tried the microplane, though - given the quality of their other items, it wouldn't surprise me if they're an exception.

        1. re: Candy

          I really want a nice wide strip, like a good half an inch or more wide -- I don't think a channel knife is nearly that big, is it? I am pretty sure I'm looking for a good sharp easy-to-hold vegetable peeler.

        2. I'm partial to an occasional Old Fashioned, but somewhat different from the museum guys.
          In a rocks glass; 3-4 maraschino cherries (no stem), orange wedge w/peel, muddle (grind) until mascerated, add rye of choice and ice. Garnish with orange wheel (bitters optional). Enjoy while imagining the old days of prohibition where fruit was sometimes a required element to bathtub gin...

          1 Reply
          1. re: porker

            You're bringing back the days of my childhood, when my parents and most of their friends drank cocktails of just that kind -- only made with bourbon. Remembering fondly the occasional found treat of a maraschino, marinated in whiskey.