When making cocktail garnishes, always use fresh, washed ingredients. Fruit is not only a decoration, but it also affects the taste of the cocktail if presented properly.
Citrus fruits like lemon, lime and orange give more juice if you first soak them in warm water for a few minutes. Then roll them on the cutting board against your hand. This allows the fruits to become softer for squeezing juice out of them.
Cut fruits should be covered with a damp napkin or stored in a container with a cover when they are not used. Generally cut fruits will not last longer than a day or so.
Lemon: Twisting a lemon skin properly imparts a big difference in taste with such drinks as Manhattans, Champagne Cocktails, Highballs and Spritzers. A twist is a small strip of peel that is twisted over the glass to release its aromatic oils. It is then dripped into the drink.
To serve a cocktail with a lemon twist, grasp the twist with your thumb and index finger of your left hand holding the pores or yellow side down directly over the drink with your right hand, a combination of twisting and squeezing the oils fro the pores of the lemon skin. Use the twist on the rim of the glass and be sure to use the yellow side of the twist on the rim. The pulp of the lemon should be squeezed and the juice kept under refrigeration. The juice can be used to alter the taste of the lemon drinks.
Lime: You should get an average of 16 wedges per lime. When squeezing a wedge of lime, shield with your hand to prevent lime juice from squiring onto the other people. The lime piece is used to moisten the rim of the glass in such drinks as Margarita, Side Car and Salty Dog, so that the salt or sugar will adhere to the rime of the glass. Lime wheels are also used for decorative purposes on tropical drinks.
Orange: Orange slices should be cut about 1/4 inch thick as slices that are too thin will be flimsy and slices too thick are not economical. Orange slices are combines with cherries on many drinnks. The combination is nicknamed "garbage" or "flag."