How to prepare your orange for a timeless cocktail garnish

How to prepare your orange for a timeless cocktail garnish

If a tasty aperitif at home or on the road with friends sounds tempting, NIO cocktails are the easy, delicious way to enjoy your drinks without the fuss. With recipes crafted and designed by Patrick Pistolesi, owner of Drink Kong bar, ranked among the 50 World’s Best Bars, each cocktail should be paired with its recommended garnish for the complete effect.

What is a garnish?

Added value for your cocktail, a garnish elevates any profile whether bitter, sweet or dry, making your drink prettier...

One of the best loved and most flexible garnishes for all seasons is the classic, deliciously tangy orange. Recommended by Patrick and suggested on our packaging it can turn a cocktail into a toptail in moments! But how do we make that special orange garnish? Get a sharp knife, a perfectly fresh, washed room-temperature organic orange, and let the orange garnish games begin

orange for cocktails

Orange a-peel

You don't have to be an expert bartender to prepare an incredible garnish, or go out and buy any expensive specialist tools. Take a look at Patrick's tips for a high-end garnish at home using things you already have. You’ll need Only 4 things to prepare your orange cocktail garnish:

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • A knife with a thin blade to peel like the classic paring knife and/ or a potato peeler.
  • An orange!

An orange is an orange is not an orange.

Not all oranges are the same. A fresh, washed organic orange is always the best choice; the release of essential oils is crucial to enhancing the flavours of your cocktail and there is nothing better than one grown and picked from on a tree that only nature raised. Now you have the right tools, let's get down to the preparation:

How to cut orange for cocktails


The simplest of decorations, quick to prepare even for the most inexperienced, all you need to do is cut the ends off and then, with a normal serrated knife, cut a round slice the same width as the top of the glass. If you prefer it on the glass, cut a small slit in the pulp and the peel and slot onto the edge.


The most common garnish is a smallish slice of orange that you can get by cutting the round slice in half. You can play a bit with the thickness: if you prefer more flavour, leave it thicker or for a more subtle stay on a thin cut.


Very aromatic and fragrant, orange zest is a thin strip of orange peel, you cut easily without having to dig too far into the skin. It is a great garnish for many cocktails thanks to its essential oils, but getting the orange zest is easier than you think. How to make the classic orange zest:garnish in 4 easy steps:

  • Before adding it to your cocktail, you can squeeze it slightly over the glass to enhance the notes of your cocktail with delicate orange aroma,
  • Cut a small amount of peel into a strip with a potato peeler or paring knife and remove pith
  • Cut into quarters
  • hold the orange firmly with one hand and with the other engrave the skin obtaining a thin "slice", possibly without the bitter white patina
  • Position at 45° from the glass and squeeze it
  • Add it to your cocktail and leave to soak for a bit

Orange peel twist

This is the start of a garnish adventure and although we’re getting fancy, this is an easy way to prepare a pretty garnish without getting too technical..

How to make an orange peel twist in 3 easy steps

    • Cut a rectangular length of peel and remove excess pith
    • Sheer off the edges for straightness and cut the ends at acute angles.
    • Twist between your fingers and place it on the edge of the tumbler.
    • You can drape it on the edge or wind it onto a coloured toothpick and balance across the centre of the glass.

Orange peel spiral

The spiral is a fun variant on the spiral and has great visual appeal and although slightly more fiddly to make, the finished product is so pretty that you’ll be impressing your friends in no time.

How to make an orange peel spiral in 5 easy steps:

      • Cut all around the middle of the orange and repeat steps 1 & 2 for the Twist.
      • Starting at one end, roll into a tight coil
      • Slice the coil until you end up individual peels with even widths
      • Coil the peel around a cocktail stick or straw
      • Remove the spiral gently and drape over the edge of the tumbler.

Curate your NIO Cocktails box for you and your favourite people to share, then when you’ve poured your drinks over ice, make sure your garnish is on-point for that perfect serve.