How to decorate the top of a glass with sugar

Known as a "rimmer" by bartenders, adding a special sweet or salty touch to the top of a glass can make any cocktail even more enjoyable. Some cocktails call for a sugar rimmer -- cosmopolitans, gimlets and sidecars, for example. You can prepare ahead of time by decorating the rims of the cocktail glasses before guests arrive. When the liqueur in the cocktail meets the sugar on the rim, the taste will be sensational.

Pour the superfine sugar into a bowl.

Choose a fruit that complements the cocktail you are preparing. For example, use orange slices for sidecars, lime slices for cosmopolitans and lemon or lime slices for a gimlet. Slice the fruit into wedges.

Cut through the pulp of a wedge of fruit with the knife. Push the fruit wedge down onto the rim of the glass at the point where you cut it and move the fruit wedge around the entire top of the glass two or three times to coat it generously with fruit juice.

Invert the glass immediately and dip the rim into the superfine sugar in the bowl. Push the rim of the glass about 1 cm into the sugar and twist the glass back and forth to coat it completely with sugar.

Lift the glass out of the sugar and tap the side of the glass lightly with your fingers to remove excess sugar.

Place the glass right side up on a tray or counter and rim each cocktail glass in the same fashion.


Coating the glasses ahead of time helps to set the sugar on the glasses. Another option is to use a bit of whatever spirit is in the cocktail to coat the glasses. For example, use gin for gimlet glasses, vodka for cosmopolitan glasses and cognac for sidecar glasses. Fill a shallow bowl with enough liquor to coat the top of the glass and then tip the glass in sugar. Look for special rim sugars for your cocktails. You can purchase sugar in flavours and colours to complement the cocktails you make.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh lemon, lime or orange slices
  • Knife
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Cocktail glasses
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.