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The Why, What And How Of Rimming A Cocktail Glass

The Why, What And How Of Rimming A Cocktail Glass

Imagine having the cheesiest, yummiest pizza but with no oregano or chilli flakes for company. Or having your favourite sub without adding any of the sauces. What about your favourite flavour of ice cream but without sprinkles?

They might be great by themselves, but a little topping just adds that extra oomph to your tastebuds and takes it up a notch. Which is exactly what rimming does to a cocktail.

Why Rim Your Cocktail Glass

Rimming gives more than just decorative appeal to cocktails. They provide colour, texture and contrasting flavours to a drink. The rim is basically another ingredient in the cocktail, especially for classics like a Margarita.

When executed carefully, rims do a lot to balance the taste and overall experience of your drink. The tiny flecks sticking to the edge of the glass can bring the bling to an otherwise mundane cocktail.

What To Rim Your Cocktail Glass With

There are two main ingredients required when rimming a glass – one is something wet, to help the flakes stick to the edge of the glass and the other is something dry, for the flakes themselves that are to be stuck on the edge of your glassware.

Wet Ingredients:

Essentially, you are looking for a liquid that’s sticky and viscous. If it is too thin, it might run down the glass and dilute the cocktail. The most commonly used liquid to wet the rim of the glass is lime extract.

However, beverages like syrups, juice, beer, or for a more neutral taste, water, are all perfectly suitable liquids to use for rimming your cocktail. In case of syrups, you might have to dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio, otherwise it will be too thick and overpowering.

There is a wide range of colours to play with, some of the prettiest options being grenadine, honey, maple or chocolate syrup.

With juice, all you have to do is make sure it is not too pulpy. Juice that is a part of the cocktail or the garnish is ideal. Citrus flavours are most popular, as are versatile juices like pineapple and passionfruit. For a boozier rim, distinctively-flavoured cider or beer can be used too.

Ripe juicy fruits also make for a great adhesive for the rim. Try lemons, oranges, peaches, plums, or mangoes.

Dry Ingredients:

For the dry ingredient, which also makes for the primary taste of the rim, salt is arguably the most commonly used solid. However, it’s not the only garnish in town. You can use sugar, crushed candies, spices, herbs — anything works, so long as the flavours don’t overpower your cocktail and are palatable enough to consume straight.

It may not be fancy, but simple granulated sugar goes a long way, especially for cocktails that have high acidity. Spirits like bourbon or scotch that are harsher on the throat can be eased with sugar rims as well.

Some cocktails could do very well with complementary spices or herbs. Just add spices like pepper, ground herbs, mint or even chilli flakes to your plate of sugar or salt and stir with a fork until it’s thoroughly mixed. Cinnamon-sugar is a particularly nice combination, especially for festive drinks.

Coconut flakes can complement a variety of drinks, including, you guessed it – Piña Colada. Powdered chocolate can be a fun addition to nightcaps like Irish Coffee.

Crushed candy can also be used. You will need to refine it into really fine crystals, perhaps using a coffee grinder. They are sure to make a basic cocktail look more colourful as well as your playground to get as creative as you want.

See Also

How To Rim Your Glass

Ideally, you only want the rim to be on the outside of the glass. The key to rimming is to moisten the rim of the glass with enough liquid to make the powder 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.

Make sure there’s enough powder to coat the entire rim of the glass, even though a lot of bartenders these days prefer to coat only half the rim. This is so that the consumer has the option to drink from the non-coated side if that’s what they prefer.

The following process is one most bartenders prefer to use to rim cocktails:

  • Prepping the glass in advance is always recommended.
  • Place two tablespoons of the wet ingredient in a saucer.
  • In a second saucer, place two tablespoons of the dry rimming powder.
  • Holding the glass by its stem, carefully tip it toward the first saucer at about a 45-degree angle.
  • 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 outer rim.
  • Now dip the glass into the second saucer and hold it in place for a few seconds.
  • At this point, you can slightly moisten a bar napkin or paper towel and tidy up the rim a bit.
  • You can gently tap the glass to dust off the excess powder.
  • Be sure to clean any flakes that might have fallen into the glass.

Final Thoughts

While every cocktail can be rimmed, not every cocktail should be.

It is essential to do a quick taste test to see whether the flavours of the rim and cocktail complement each other. Once you’ve got the right combination, you’re sure to attract attention with your cocktail whether it’s at home for guests or at a bar.

Among the newest trends are edible glitter rims and edible flower rims that definitely add to the visual appeal and can make any drink stand out.

Go ahead and explore the wonderful and exciting world of rims. If you have any ideas for what would make for a good rim ingredient, let us know in the comments below.

All images courtesy Unsplash

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