How to rim a glass

Rimming a cocktail glass is a simple task that can add a cool visual effect to your drinks while at the same time providing a unique taste and texture that is quintessential to a number of cocktails. Take the Sidecar, for example. Without the sugar rim, the Sidecar wouldn’t have the sweet finish that’s characteristic of the drink (too much sour without the balance of sweet). It also wouldn’t look as cool, and presentation is just as important as taste when we’re talking about quality cocktails. If the drink doesn’t look great, no one is going to expect it to taste great.

Alright, let’s get down to it. Here’s what you’ll need:

A cocktail glass
A small plate
A lemon or lime wedge
(usually whatever fruit is acting as the garnish on your cocktail)
The rimming ingredient (granulated sugar, salt, powdered sugar, whatever you want – be adventurous!)

Spread the rimming ingredient, whatever ingredient you want to end up on the rim of your glass, on the plate. Make a cut into the lemon/lime wedge so that you can easily slip the fruit onto the edge of the glass. The juice of the fruit will act as a sort of glue, allowing you to easily coat the glass with the rimming ingredient. We’ll say we’re using sugar for simplicity’s sake so I don’t have to keep saying “rimming ingredient”!

Insert the edge of your cocktail glass into the notch you just made on the fruit wedge, and apply the juice of the fruit all the way around the outside edge of the glass. You should wipe the juice of the fruit a 1/4″ to a 1/2″ down from the edge of the glass depending on how deep you want the sugar to extend. I say apply the juice of the fruit to the outside edge because the proper way to do this is to only apply the grains of sugar to the outside of the rim (you don’t want stray grains falling into the cocktail each time you take a sip).


Apply the fruit juice

Okay, now that you’ve readied the glass, it’s time to apply the sugar. Hold your cocktail glass sideways over the plate with the sugar so the outside edge of the glass is horizontal. Gently press the glass edge down into the sugar to apply the grains of sugar to the outside edge of the glass. Lift the glass back up and rotate to the next clear spot on the glass edge.

Apply the rimming ingredient

Do this until the entire edge of the glass is covered in sugar.

A sugar-rimmed glass

And there you have it…you’ve just learned a skill that could probably get you a part-time bartending gig at your local Applebee’s. Now go make a Sidecar or Margarita, or better yet, invent your own cocktail that uses a rimmed glass. Have fun!

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One Response to “How to rim a glass”

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