One of the most impressive things that you can do at a bar is set a drink on fire. It’s fun to do when you’re behind the bar and it makes your drink look a whole lot more exciting when it is being served to you. Floating some 151 on top of a drink and igniting it is one way of adding some flash, but flaming an orange peel is more dramatic and adds more flavor to a drink. You can flame an orange peel simply by holding a match up to a small section of peel while you squeeze the citrus oils out. The citrus oil is flammable, so you’ll get a small fireball on top of your drink as you squeeze. The citrus oil itself will add a nice aroma to the drink, but flaming it adds a toasty note to that orange essence, giving any cocktail a more complex aroma. You can add the peel to the drink when you’re done with the show.
You only need a small section of orange for a good flame, but you can’t use just any orange segment. You need to start with a thick skinned orange, such as a navel orange, and cut a 1-inch by 1-inch disc of peel off the orange with a sharp knife. Your peel can be slightly larger or smaller, but too large may be difficult to handle and too small may not produce enough oil. Try to get the smallest amount of pith (the white portion underneath the skin) as possible.
Hold the orange peel between your thumb and forefinger. Light a match and hold it a few inches above your cocktail glass. Bring the orange peel towards the match and give it a sharp squeeze when it is one inch away from the flame. A burst of flame and a bright orange aroma should burst out and your drink is ready to serve. You can also use this trick with lemon peel.