You thinking ‘Margaritas’?
Yeah, us too, always! When ordering a Margarita Cocktail at a top bar, you’ll often see that the edge of the glass is rimmed in salt. Many bartenders will tell you this is the only way to properly garnish a margarita.
In any case, knowing how to salt rim a cocktail glass is an important technique. Other cocktails call for sugar rims and many other ingredients.
How To Salt Rim A Cocktail Glass: do’s and dont’s
A salt rim MUST be neat.
Our preference is for an immaculate, thin little bad boy, using coarsely crushed Himalayan pink salt. The rest of the glass should be entirely without salty blemish.
The salt rim should be on the outside of the glass, on the top rim of the glass but NOT on the inside of the glass. This is so the liquid of the drink is not affected by the salt until it comes together on the consumers lips and in their mouth.
How To Salt Rim A Cocktail Glass: the methods
There are two methods, we will call them Method A and Method B.
Method A uses a special piece of bar kit called a Salt Rimmer (imaginative name, right?). You can buy that online for between £8 to £15.
Method B is just as good and all you need is two saucers. Both methods work perfectly.
What you need
Salt – table salt will do but rock salt or sea salt is better because of their textures.
Citrus – traditionally Lime juice is used as the glue to stick the salt to the glass. You can also use Lemon juice. Orange juice does not work as well, it’s too thick.
Glassware – Salt rimming will work on any glass, just remember the golden rule, never touch the top half of the glass with your hands as you work. The top half is for the consumer, the bottom half is for the creator.
Method A – Using the Salt Rimmer
Step 1) Open the Salt Rimmer. They usually have between two and five shelves, that can all be open at the same time.
Step 2) You will notice that one shelf has a sponge lining. Pour the juice from three limes or about 55mls into this section.
Step 3) Pour salt into another section, enough to cover the bottom of the shelf.
Step 4) Holding the glass by the base carefully dip the glass in the lime juice. Best practice is to roll the rim of the glass around the saucer, do not press down in one action. This is so you don’t add too much pressure.
Step 5) Holding the glass by the base again. Transfer the glass with the wet rim onto the salt and twist in the salt once. Do not apply strong pressure, a light touch is vital. In the unlikely event of the glass chipping or cracking, throw all equipment away, wipe down the surfaces and start again.
Step 6) Using a recallable Bev Nap (beverage napkin) or a clean bar towel, wipe away any awry salt or juice drips from beneath the salt rim on the outside of the glass. Clean the inside of the glass from any drips or spills of salt or lime too. Remember to keep it neat!
Step 7) CLEAN AND DRY EVERYTHING!
Do not leave juice in the rimmer for more than an hour without throwing out the old juice, washing, drying, and replacing it. If they are not looked after properly salt rimmers can be fruit fly magnets.
Method B – No fancy equipment needed
Step 1) In your first saucer or small plate pour or squeeze in enough lime juice to cover the bottom of the saucer, about 55mls or roughly 3 limes.
Step 2) Into the second saucer or small plate tip enough salt to create a covering across the saucer.
Step 3) Holding the glass by the base. Carefully dip the glass in the lime juice. Best practice is to roll the rim of the glass around the saucer, do not press down in one action. This is so you don’t add too much pressure.
Step 4) Holding the glass by the base again. Transfer the glass with the wet rim onto the salt and twist in the salt once.
Do not apply strong pressure, a light touch is vital. In the unlikely event of the glass chipping or cracking, throw all equipment away, wipe down surfaces and start again.
Step 5) Using a recallable Bev Nap (beverage napkin) or a clean bar towel, wipe away any awry salt or juice drips from beneath the salt rim on the outside of the glass.
Clean the inside of the glass from any drips or spills of salt or lime too. Remember to keep it neat!
Once you have nailed Method B you can remove the first saucer from the process.
Instead, use a single lime wedge, cut a horizontal line across the fattest section of the wedge. Pop the lime wedge on the rim of the glass and lightly squeeze and drag around the rim.
Do not apply too much pressure as you risk damaging the glass and then hurting yourself. This will give you the lime juice needed for the salt to stick.
How to Salt Rim a Cocktail Glass:
The Society Pro Tips
Prepare your glass before you mix the drink.
Once you have mastered creating salt rims, mix it up! Try a lemon and sugar rim on lemon drop martini or a honey and crushed biscuit rim for your Bailey’s!
Thinking of putting Aqua Riva Tequila in your Margarita? Read our interview over at The Cocktail Service with Cleo Rocos.
Now you know how to salt rim a cocktail glass, why not check out our other tips and tricks for cocktail bartenders?