How to Rim a Glass with Sugar

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You won’t find a classic margarita without a salt or sugar rim. The sugar rim gives the drink a cool, sparkling appearance, adds to the visuals of the drink and enhances the flavor. However, sugar rims don’t just accompany margaritas–they’re also great for sweet cocktails, fruity drinks and even coffee and hot chocolate. Learn how to rim a glass with sugar, and start planning a home bar for friends and family members.

3 glasses with sugar rims.

Tips for How to Rim a Glass with Sugar

Glass rimming might be easy enough, but you’ll need to know a few techniques to preserve the flavor and aesthetic of the drink.

  • When you wet the rim with a syrup or citrus juice on a plate, dip the glass into the syrup evenly and release.
  • If using a lime or lemon wedge to wet the rim, do not cut too deeply into the middle of the slice or the sugar will stick too far down the glass. If you do, the sugar can come in direct content with the drink, potentially ruining the flavor. Remember that there’s a difference between having sugar on the side and actively mixing it into the drink.
  • Some bartenders recommend twisting the glass in the sugar, but some don’t. Try both ways and see what works for you. Personally, I like to dip and release.
  • Be generous with the sugar on the plate to get enough coverage.
  • The diameter of the sugar on the plate should be wider than the glass.
  • You can use anything from fine sugar to coarse sugar, brown or white, or even candy sprinkles, depending on the look/taste you are going for.
  • To wet the rim, you can use citrus juice, citrus wedges, syrups or even a liqueur that matches the drink.
  • You can buy tools to help you rim the glass, such as a 3 tier glass rimmer.

What You Will Need

A margarita glass, lemon, bowl of sugar and zester on black background.
  • Small plates
  • Cocktail glass of choice or glass coffee mug
  • ½ cup sugar rim of your choice (or plain white or brown sugar)
  • Something to wet the rim such as lime or lemon wedges/juice, maple syrup, simple syrup etc.

We have 3 flavors of homemade sugar rim for you to try!

How to Rim a Coffee Mug With Sugar

Step 1: Add Sugar to Plate

Cinnamon sugar rim on a small glass plate.

Add a good amount of sugar rim or plain sugar to a small plate evenly (we used a cinnamon-sugar rim because it goes well with coffee).

Step 2: Add Syrup to Separate Plate

Prepped ingredients and tools for sugar rimming on black background.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup into a separate plate, or enough to coat the plate evenly (you could also use a flavored simple syrup or other types of syrups).

Step 3: Dip Mug into Syrup

Cinnamon sugar rim on a small glass plate and a clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of maple syrup.

Dip the mug into the syrup and release.

A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of maple syrup.
A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of maple syrup.

Step 4: Press Mug into Sugar

A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of cinnamon sugar.

Press the mug into the sugar mix to coat the rim.

A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon sugar rim on a coffee mug.

Step 5: Set the Sugar

Cinnamon sugar rim on a coffee mug.

Let sit for a few minutes to harden before filling the glass.

How to Rim a Margarita Glass with Sugar

Step 1: Add Sugar to Plate

Lemon sugar rim on a plate.

Add a good amount of sugar rim to a small plate evenly, making sure the plate is wider than the margarita glass (you can use plain white or brown sugar or get fancy with a zesty sugar rim).

Step 2: Wet the Glass Rim

Lemon wedge on a martini glass.

Cut a slit into the middle of a lime or lemon wedge (not too deep). Slide it onto the margarita glass and run it all around the edge to make it wet.

Alternatively, you could add some lime or lemon juice to a separate plate and dip the glass in it.

Step 3: Press Glass into Sugar

Martini glass dipped into sugar rim.

Press the margarita glass into the sugar mix to coat the rim (or you can hold the glass at an angle and roll it in the sugar instead).

Step 4: Let the Sugar Set

Martini glass dipped into sugar rim.

Let sit a few minutes to set before filling the glass.

How to Rim Other Cocktail Glasses with Sugar

This method can apply to any cocktail glass you plan on using. Just remember to make sure the plate of sugar is wider than the diameter of the glass.

Step 1: Add Sugar Rim to Plate

Add a good amount of sugar rim to a small plate evenly (we used pink lemonade sugar rim but you can use any choice of sugar).

Step 2: Wet the Rim

Cocktail glass dipped in simple syrup.

Pour some simple syrup into a separate small, shallow dish (we used lemon-flavored simple syrup). Dip the glass into the syrup.

Alternatively, you could cut a slit into the middle of a lemon or lime wedge and rub it around the rim of the glass.

Step 3: Press Cocktail Glass into Sugar

Cocktail glass dipped in pink sugar.

Press the glass into the sugar mix to coat the rim completely (or you can hold the glass at an angle and roll it in the sugar instead).

Step 4: Let Sit

Cocktail glass dipped in pink sugar.

Let the cocktail glass sit a few minutes to harden before filling the glass.

Ready to Serve

3 glasses with sugar rims on black background.

Proceed to filling the glass with desired beverage and serve!

Sugar rim flavors in 3 jars with glasses in the background.

Adding a sugar rim to a coffee mug might sound unconventional, but it adds a lot of flavor and charm to your holiday drinks. A touch of maple syrup and sugar–especially flavored sugar–adds extra flavor to your coffee and hot chocolate. Not sure if your guests will like it? You can rim one side of the mug and leave the other side blank so your guests can choose whether they want the extra flavor or not.

Sugar rim flavors in 3 jars with glasses in the background.

While the sugar rim isn’t the main event of your drink, your guests should be able to consume the rim without being overwhelmed with sugar. Don’t assume that more sugar is always better. Instead, use a light touch to sweeten the rim without encrusting it in hard sugar flakes. This is especially important if you use an ingredient like cinnamon that has a little kick.

Which drinks and sugar rims did you pair up? Share your thoughts with us in the comments and if you enjoyed this tutorial, please share!

3 glasses with sugar rims.

How to Rim a Glass with Sugar

Joss D
Learn how to rim a glass with sugar, and start planning a home bar for friends and family members.
No ratings yet
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins

Equipment

Small plates
Cocktail glass or glass coffee mug

Materials

  • ½ cup sugar rim of your choice - (or plain white or brown sugar)
  • Something to wet the rim - (lime or lemon wedges/juice, maple syrup, simple syrup etc.)

Instructions
 

For Coffee Mug:

  • Add a good amount of sugar rim or plain sugar to a small plate evenly (we used a cinnamon-sugar rim because it goes well with coffee).
    Cinnamon sugar rim on a small glass plate.
  • Pour about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup into a separate plate, or enough to coat the plate evenly (you could also use a flavored simple syrup or other types of syrups).
    Prepped ingredients and tools for sugar rimming on black background.
  • Dip the mug into the syrup.
    A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of maple syrup.
  • Press the mug into the sugar mix to coat the rim.
    A clear glass coffee mug dipped into a plate of cinnamon sugar.
  • Let sit for a few minutes to harden before filling the glass.
    Cinnamon sugar rim on a coffee mug.

For Margarita Glass:

  • Add a good amount of sugar rim to a small plate evenly, making sure the plate is wider than the margarita glass (you can use plain white or brown sugar or get fancy with a lime zest sugar rim).
    Lemon sugar rim on a plate.
  • Cut a slit into the middle of a lime or lemon wedge (not through the peel and not too deep). Slide it onto the margarita glass and run it all around the edge to make it wet. Alternatively, you could add some lime or lemon juice to a plate and dip the glass in it.
    Lemon wedge on a martini glass.
  • Press the margarita glass into the sugar mix to coat the rim (or you can hold the glass at an angle and roll it in the sugar instead).
    Martini glass dipped into sugar rim.
  • Let sit a few minutes to harden before filling the glass.
    Martini glass dipped into sugar rim.

For Other Cocktail Glasses:

  • Add a good amount of sugar rim to a small plate evenly.
  • Pour some simple syrup into a separate small, shallow dish. Dip the glass into the syrup.
    (Alternatively, you could cut a slit into the middle of a lemon or lime wedge and rub it around the rim of the glass.)
    Cocktail glass dipped in simple syrup.
  • Press the glass into the sugar mix to coat the rim completely (or you can hold the glass at an angle and roll it in the sugar instead).
    Cocktail glass dipped in pink sugar.
  • Let sit a few minutes to harden before filling the glass.
    Cocktail glass dipped in pink sugar.
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