Drink Accents with Citizen Public House's Richie Moe

In honor of the Devour Phoenix bartender competition tonight, Richie Moe, mixologist and partner at Citizen Public House, gives us the inside scoop on drink accents.

Moe calls drink accents seasoning for cocktails, like adding salt or pepper. It won't dramatically change the taste, but it will, "add mouth-feel and natural oils to drinks."

There are four basic accents, Moe says: twist, peel, zest and toasted peel.

- A really sharp knife
- Lighter

Optional materials:
- Lemon Twist
- Peeler
- Zester aka. Microplane

To start: All of the accents should be performed over the cocktail glass to ensure the flavors are transferred to the drink. Also, it's best to use some type of citrus fruit.

Use the big opening of the lemon twist and just roll it around the lemon, lime or orange. The result should be smaller and skinnier than a peel. Then, as a decoration, you give your twist a twist over the glass or finished cocktail. You can put the twist directly in the drink or run it along the rim of the glass for a more subtle flavor.

The standard peel is done with a knife or peeler. You simply peel a section off with the peeler, or cut into the fruit and roll the knife under the skin. If you use a knife, try to get as little of the white part, pith, as possible. With the bit you cut off, twist the peel over a completed drink.

A zester or microplane is finer than a cheese grater. Just run the fruit gently over the grater. Then give the grater a little tap. All the zest will fall right in the drink. You get super fine lemon, lime or orange that adds a whole lot of flavor without having a big chunk of fruit in the drink.

Toasted Peel
Cut a disk of fruit peel the size of a quarter. Give the peel a little squeeze as you light it with a lighter at the same time. You can actually see the oils that impart on the glass. The toasted oils give the drink a deeper, darker flavor.

For $10, you can also watch Moe take on his local bartender competition at the Vig Uptown tonight at 5:30pm.

Each bartender will make one drink featuring Arroyo Vodka, Phoenix's first vodka company, and three experts will decide who makes it into the final round. Taste, presentation and originality will be judged. In the final round, bartenders will go head-to-head and must use a mystery Arizona produce ingredient. The audience also gets a sample of each tasty concoction.

Moe, who's been bartending for 15 years, says he's looking forward to the competition. "It's less of the monotonous drink pours that everyone always wants," he says. "We get to be creative with no restrictions. Plus, with bartending, there's always so much more fun to have."

The Vig Uptown is located at 6015 N. 16th St. in Phoenix, and more information can be found on the Devour Phoenix website.

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