How To Rim A Cocktail Glass

If you rim a glass right, it can not only add to a drinks visual appeal, but also take it’s flavour up to the next level

By: Tiff Christie|June 10,2021

There’s no prettier way to garnish a cocktail than with by rimming the glass.

The tiny flecks of salt or sugar sticking to the edge, bring a little bling to any occasion and can take your cocktail from just good to pro.

But rimming is more than simply a decorative flourish. Whatever you choose to put on the rim is really another ingredient in your cocktail.

So while rimming certainly adds visual interest, it also adds a vital hit of flavour.

So grab a glass and make the rim look and taste fabulous.

Why You Want To Rim

Generally speaking, an edible ring of salt or sugar can easily add a delicious edge to an otherwise pedestrian drink.

When executed carefully, rims do a lot to balance the taste and overall experience of your drink.

After all, a Salty Dog would hardly be salty without a salt rim. And a Lemon Drop would never be as sweet without that hit of rimmed sugar.

It’s important not to overpower or dilute an otherwise tasty cocktail. Ideally, you only want the rim to be on the outside of the glass, not the inside.


Too much salt or sugar in the inside rim of the glass can easily dissolve into the drink and effectively knocking the all of the flavours out of balance.

When You Want To Rim

While in theory, any drink can be rimmed; in reality, not every drink should be.

By rimming, you are adding that little extra flavour that might otherwise be dissolved in the glass. So really you are only looking to rim drinks that would benefit from the extra salt or sugar as it hits your tongue.

What You’ll Need To Rim

Every rim is comprised of two or more components: liquid and solid(s). Choose and use your ingredients wisely, because everything that touches the rim of a glass will affect the flavour of the drink.

Water, juice, beer, or syrups are all perfectly suitable liquids to use for rimming your cocktail. Ideally though,  you are looking for a liquid that’s not too liquidy, really it should be something that is a little sticky and viscous enough not to run down the glass.

Salt is the most commonly used solid on a cocktail rim, but it’s not the only garnish in town. You can use sugar, crushed candies, spices, herbs — anything goes, so long as the flavours don’t overpower your cocktail and are palatable enough to consume straight.

How To Rim

The key to sugar and salt rimming is to moisten the rim of the glass enough liquid to make the sugar or salt will stick to it.

You want about a quarter-inch or less to be moistened; feel free to dry any excess liquid with a clean towel before adding your solid.

Prepping the glass in advance is helpful because it gives the salt or sugar time to dry onto the glass, helping it adhere better during service.

Rather than rim the whole edge of the glass, it’s sometimes better to rim only half the circumference. That way, if your guest prefers not to drink the salt or sugar, she need only drink from the uncoated side of the glass.

Keep in mind it’s not worth making the cocktail until after all your glasses are prepared.

So, Let’s Rim A Glass

  1. Place 2 tablespoons juice or other liquid in the first saucer.
  2. In the second saucer, place 2 tablespoons salt, sugar, or other rimming powder.
  3. Holding the glass by its stem, carefully tip it toward the first saucer at about a 45-degree angle.
  4. Dip the glass into the juice, rotating the glass through the juice so that only the outer edge of the rim becomes moist. Be sure to moisten about a quarter inch of the rim.
  5. Repeat this process with the glass in the second saucer, coating the outer lip of the glass in salt or sugar.
  6. At this point, you can slightly moisten a bar napkin or paper towel and tidy up the rim a bit. Be sure to get any flakes that might have fallen into the glass.

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