The easiest method for how to make a lemon twist as a cocktail garnish uses no special equipment: all you need is a knife!

How to make a lemon twist

Got a cocktail that you want to garnish with a lemon twist, but not sure how to make one? We’re here to help! Alex and I are home cooks and homemade cocktail connoisseurs. We love finding the very easiest way to things, avoiding special tools if we can. Lately we made our French 75 and Champagne Cocktail, and needed a cocktail garnish. Traditionally a lemon twist requires a special tool…so we set about finding a new way! Here’s all about how to make a lemon twist: with a knife.

Want more cocktail advice? How to Muddle Mint.

The traditional method? A channel knife.

If you’re a professional mixologist, how do you make a lemon twist? With a channel knife! A channel knife makes it easy to cut out a lemon twist. They’re relatively inexpensive, so it’s not hard to stock up on one. (Here’s a channel knife on Amazon.) But if you need this cocktail garnish now and don’t happen to have one…here’s the next best option!

Our easy method? Use a paring knife.

How to make a lemon twist
Yield: Cocktail garnishes!

How to Make a Lemon Twist

Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute

The easiest method for how to make a lemon twist as a cocktail garnish uses no special equipment: all you need is a knife!


  • 1 lemon


  • 1 paring knife


  1. Cut the lemon width-wise into a circle.
    Cutting a lemon
  2. Run a paring knife around the edge to remove the peel, cutting away as much of the pith as possible. Remove the fruit and set aside.
    Cutting a lemon peel garnish
  3. Cut the remaining peel circle so that it becomes a long strip. Twist it, holding it for several seconds until the shape is kept.
    How to make a lemon twist

Cocktails with a lemon twist

There are lots of cocktails with this garnish! Here are our favorites that you can use this garnish trick on:

  • French 75 Cocktail A sophisticated drink that’s tangy, bubbly, and a bit botanical.
  • The Classic Champagne Cocktail A classic cocktail that’s festive and elegant, perfect for celebration. The sugar cube makes it sparkle!
  • Lemon Drop Martini Here’s the best lemon drop martini you’ll have, made simply with vodka, Cointreau and lemon! It’s festive and refreshing, with a lemon twist and sugar rim.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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