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There are a variety of ways of making and using twists; twists are typically cut from a whole fresh fruit with a small kitchen knife immediately prior to serving, although a peeler, citrus zester, or other utensil may be used. The cut zest is then twisted over the cocktail in order to release its aromatic volatile oils and provide additional aroma and flavor to the cocktail.
A curled shape may come from cutting the wedge into a spiral, winding it around a straw or other object, or as a byproduct of the cutting, though it may also result from the literal twisting action performed by the Mixologist.
They are generally about 2 inches long (although length varies), and thin.