Mezcal Cocktail With Black Lava Salt
[1] A mezcal cocktail rimmed with a deep half rim, a blend of chipotle and black lava salt (at Olmsted | Brooklyn).

Cocktail Rim Half Salt Half Tajin
[2] A full rim covering just the top of the glass, with two different seasonings: half salt, half Tajin (at Alma Cocina Latina | Baltimore).

Thai Margarita Hibiscus Rim
[3] A Thai Margarita rimmed with a blend of black lava salt and hibiscus leaves (at Miro Kitchen | Fairfield, Connecticut).

Chocolate Shell Glass Rim
[4] A Magic Shell rim (at Gordon Ramsay Group).

Celery Salt Rim Bloody Mary
[5] A celery salt rim on a Bloody Mary (at Pompeian | Facebook) A current favorite is Tajin seasoning.

Stirrings Cocktail Rimmer
[6] A tin of Lemon Drop cocktail rimmer (photo courtesy The Party Source).


The original cocktail glass rim, as far as we know, is the salt on a Margarita glass. According to Margarita history, it was created in 1948, adapting a long-standing Mexican tradition of a shot of tequila served with a lime wedge and salt.

With the Margarita, the salt rim was visually appealing and added flavor to the drink. Maybe—we can’t find data to substantiate—someone put celery salt on a Bloody Mary rim (photo #5); but the practice was not widespread.

Why it took so long for other glass rims to emerge is anyone’s guess. But some 15 years ago, we first noticed a product called a glass rimmer at the annual specialty food show.

The pioneers were Stirrings and Nantucket Offshore, manufacturers of premium cocktail ingredients. Others followed (you can see them on

Shallow round tins (photo #6) contained different savory or sweet blends for popular drinks: Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop, and so on.

The rim of the cocktail glass was moistened and twisted in the tin to coat it. Non-cocktail rimmers for hot chocolate and other drinks followed.

Bartenders noticed; and over the years, creative mixologists proceeded to elevate glass rimmers into an art—owing largely to the accessibility of unusual ingredients, from black lava salt to hibiscus leaves.

The rim can be as minimal or deep as the mixologist desires (compare photos #1, #2 and #3).

The most recent evolution is half- or three-quarter rims, which give the drinker the option to partake of the rim seasoning or not.

As you peruse the lists below, consider combining ingredients; for example:

  • Chile powder and lemon zest
  • Chopped nuts and shaved chocolate
  • Cocoa powder and chile powder
  • Cracked pepper and thyme
  • Lemon zest and sparkling sugar
    You can make the rims seasonal—for example, orange zest and black lava salt for Halloween, and crushed candy canes for the holidays.

    The variations are endless, and give you the creativity to layer the flavors you want.

  • Celery salt
  • Cracked or ground pepper
  • Dried chiles: cayenne, chipotle, jalapeño, red pepper flakes
  • Dried herb blends: thyme, oregano, sage
  • Flower petals, dried hibiscus leaves
  • Pink or green peppercorns
  • Seasoned salts, Tajin
  • Specialty salts: black lava salt, pink salt, red lava salt, smoked salt, wasabi salt
  • Spices: Asian blend, chili powder, cumin, herbes de provence, Italian blend, oregano, powdered cloves, thyme, etc.

  • Chocolate shell
  • Citrus zest
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cocoa powder, cocoa drink mix
  • Cookie crumbs
  • Crushed hard candies—butterscotch, peppermint, etc.
  • Edible glitter
  • Ground coffee beans
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Sugar: coarse sugar (decorator’s sugar, sanding sugar), white, colored, sparkling; cinnamon sugar; powdered sugar
  • Shaved chocolate, chocolate sprinkles
  • Shredded coconut
  • Spices: cinnamon sugar, gingerbread spice, pumpkin pie spice

    You can use rims on other drinks, for example:

  • Shredded coconut on a cup of hot chocolate
  • Cookie crumbs on a glass of milk
  • Cinnamon sugar on a glass of iced coffee
  • Herbs, seasoned salts or zest on vegetable juice

    Beyond the original adherent—water—mixologists now add another layer of flavor using flavorful adherents.

    Orange juice, lemon juice or other juice (apple, mango, pomegranate, vegetable, you name it) can substitute for water.


    For sweet cocktails, the rim can be affixed with honey, maple syrup or simple syrup (sugar syrup), among other syrups.

    For dessert cocktails, you can use caramel or chocolate sauce, even marshmallow cream (we’ve enjoyed a particularly calorie-packed Piña Colada with a rim of marshmallow cream and toasted coconut).

    The next time you pour a cocktail at home, first add a rim. Put the adherent liquid in a shallow bowl, and the rim ingredient (herbs, sugar, etc.) on a saucer.

    Dip the glass into the liquid about 1/4 inch deep (or however deep you want the rim).

    Then, just place the glass on the dish with the ingredients, and twist to coat.

    You’re now an expert rimmer of drinks!


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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