How to Rim the Perfect Cocktail

Decorate a Cocktail Glass Like a Pro

Apply Cocktail Salt or Sugar in Seconds!

The difference between an average cocktail and a truly memorable cocktail experience is the cocktail rimmer and/or garnish used to compliment and enhance the experience for the customer. Unfortunately, in may bars this step is often overlooked in the rush to meet fast-turn bartending. However, for those bars that do take the time, the customer satisfaction and “wow” factor that results is truly magical.

Like any type of decorating, cocktail rimming has a few foundational elements and preparation is required. Too often people rush to decorate without giving due thought to the look and taste required for the cocktail in question as well as the relative weight of the rimming product being used (e.g. sugar, salt or other food items). Failure to address these various choices can result in a patchy rimming experience or one that simply doesn’t work.

how to rim a cocktail

Steps to the Perfect Cocktail Rimmer

1) Select the type of rimmer for the drink in question

Traditionally salt is used for Margaritas and many other Tequila/Mezcal based drinks while sugar is more often used for Vodka although again there is a lot of variety. The key is to choose the rimmer that compliments the cocktail both in terms of look but most importantly taste.

2) Choose the appropriate bonding agent

Once you have made the selection in (1) above, then you need to ensure you match this to the right agent to physically bind it to the glass. Sugar and salt will not stick to the glass alone and while many bars use water it is arguably an inferior choice. Sugar typically has less density than salt although the crystal size of sugar is more often larger and hence needing greater surface area of adhesion. Sugar rimmers also taste better with a sweet based binding agent while salts align more to a sour lemon/lime taste.

Based upon this we typically recommend the following:


Type of Rimmer

First Choice

Secondary Choice





Egg White

Simple Syrup


Simple Syrup

Egg White

Most Spices


Egg White



Simple Syrup


There are many other alternatives used as rimming agents, such as soda, chocolate syrups, liquors, and beer. The key is to experiment and ensure you have the right blend of rimmer and adhesion agent to really make your cocktail perfect.

3) Rimming the Cocktail Glass

The final step of the process is to actually rim the cocktail. The key here is to have all necessary ingredients set out and then simply move from one step to the next. The approach we typically use is to:

1) Place the sugar/salt in a flat or slightly curved plate.

2) Apply the bonding agent by either running the lemon/lime pulp around the rim of the glass or gently roll the edge of the glass in the egg white or syrup.

3) Once you have an even application on the area to be rimmed, simply roll the edge of the glass into the sugar/salt to get the desired effect.

4) Please allow the rim to dry before adding the cocktail into the glass itself.

5) Add you cocktail ensuring you don't touch the rim.


By following the above tips, you can ensure the perfect cocktail rimming experience every time. For those looking to add something special, add a Snowy River cocktail glitter to your cocktail once complete. You can match the cocktail glitter to the color of the cocktail sugar or cocktail salt to ensure a fully colored matched experience.

Color your cocktail world with Snowy River Cocktails - Cocktail decorating made easy.

Always drink responsibly. Enjoy!

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