How to rim a cocktail glass

The famous Margarita and the tasty Bloody Mary among other cocktails, require that you rim the edge of the glass with salt or sugar. Rimming a cocktail glass not only add an extra decorative touch, but improve the flavor of the cocktail if the right spice is chosen. Feel free to add rims to cocktail recipes that don't call for it, as this often gives the little twist a standard recipe needs. Nevertheless, if you decide to experiment with rimming different drinks, be sure to taste before serving.


Most guides will teach you the simple way to rim a glass, by turning it upside down, dunk it in liquid, and then dip it in salt, sugar etc. The problem with this technique is that whatever coats the inside of the glass just falls into the drink, messing up not only the presentation, but more importantly dissolves and affect the flavor you've worked so hard on achieving.
The best way to rim a cocktail glass takes a little more time. The best part is that it's something you can do hours in advance of your next cocktail party.

What you need:

  1. A cocktail glass: Martini, Margarita, Highball.
  2. A citrus fruit: Lime, Lemon, Orange. Choose something that counters or matches an ingredient in the drink. Lime or orange for instance work perfectly in a margarita, because both flavors are present in the cocktail.
  3. Powder of your choice: Salt comes in many different taste. The same goes for Sugar which comes in a variety of colors and tastes. See list at the bottom.

How to rim a margarita glass

    Before you start, decide on what you want to rim your glass with. We use salt in this example.
  1. Get a citrus fruit and cut it in to a wedge.
  2. Cut into the fruit meat, but do not cut through the skin.
  3. Grab the glass by its stem, tilt it and put the wedge on it.
  4. Slowly rotate the glass, while keeping a soft pressure on the wedge.
  5. Keep rotating the glass until everything is covered.
  6. Keep the glass in the same sideways position and dab the rim into the salt while slowly turning it so that only the outer edge is covered.
  7. Keep rotating until everything is covered. This might take a bit of time.
  8. Shake off any excess salt over a sink or wastebasket. Voila you got a rimmed cocktail glass It might take a bit of extra time, but remember that practice makes perfect.

Ideas for rims for glasses:

There are a lot of interesting powders out there and the possibilities are pretty much endless. There is no constrained to only rim with sugar or salt. You can rim glasses with anything that comes in a powdered form. Here are some suggestions to go you started:

  • Salt, Sea Salt, Coarse Salt, Kosher Salt: They are a must use rim for Margaritas and fit well with most Martinis.
  • Cocoa powder or rushed cocoa beans: Perfect for chocolate martinis or anything with Bailey's, Kahluas, Irish Coffee and the likes
  • Cinnamon or Cinnamon-sugar (Go with a mix of one part cinnamon, three parts sugar): Delicious with lots of cocktails like those with chocolate liqueurs and in general apple drinks.
  • Celery Salt: A must have for Bloody Marys, Michelada and Bloody Marias.
  • Coconut (Shredded or Flaked): A must have on Pina Colada and Coconut Martini.
  • Bacon bits or bacon salt: Goes well with Bloody Mary, Bacon Old Fashioned and of course the Bacon-Maple Manhattan.
  • Brown Sugar: Fits the sweeter cocktails.
  • Crushed candy canes or cookies: Like brown sugar, this goes well with sweeter drinks.
  • Crushed graham crackers crumbs: Works on pretty much any cocktail that's good with a sugar rim, such as Key Lime Pie and Sidecar
  • Spicy Rim. Mix together equal parts coarse salt chili or cayenne powder for a fantastic hot & spicy rim great for Michelada or a Bloody Mary. Remember that you can always change the ratio if you can't get it spicy enough.
  • Spicy Rim alternative. Mix equal parts coarse salt, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Ginger zest or Ginger-sugar (Mix equal parts sugar and powdered ginger): Goes well with cocktail with rum.
  • Lime or Lemon Zest(Remember to only use the colorful part): Goes well with Gin Buck, Kamikaze, Lemon Drop and Tom Collins
  • Orange Zest: Manhattan, Vesper, Bond Martini