cocktails
3 Simple Rim Sugars to Elevate Your Favorite Cocktail
Add a sweet twist.
11-18-2020
America's Test Kitchen

Sometimes a glimmer of sugar is just what it takes to transform an already delicious cocktail into an elegant, enchanting delight. One impressive way to achieve this is by garnishing the rim of the serving glass with it. 

To add memorable touch beyond just plain sugar, we developed a trio of scented and flavored rim sugars—Vanilla, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and Smoky Chile—that can be used to add a whiff of aroma or a hint of spice, in addition to sweetness, to complement certain cocktails.

These mixtures are nothing more than carefully measured amounts of aromatics combined with sugar; they are quick and easy to make and are great to have on hand in your home bar for whenever the mood strikes to put together some extra-special drinks. 

These rim sugars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Occasionally they can clump together during storage; break up any clumps before using. These recipes can be easily doubled.


Interested in more cocktail content? Check out recipes from our first-ever beverage cookbook How to Cocktail.


 

How to Rim a Glass

moistening glass rim with lime wedge
1. Moisten about ½ inch of glass rim by running citrus wedge around outer edge, or by dipping edge of glass in small saucer of water; dry any excess liquid with paper towel. If you prefer, moisten only portion of glass so that you can enjoy cocktail both with and without garnish.
rolling glass rim in bed of sugar
2. Spread ¼ cup sugar (for up to 4 glasses) into even layer on small saucer, then roll moistened rim in salt or sugar to coat. Remove any excess granules that fall into glass.

How to Make Vanilla Rim Sugar

plate of vanilla rim sugar

What You Need:
1 vanilla bean
½ cup sugar, divided

How to do it: Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife or spoon, scrape out seeds. Using fingers, rub vanilla seeds and 2 tablespoons sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Whisk in remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Transfer sugar mixture and spent vanilla bean halves to airtight container and let sit until flavors meld, about 2 days. (Makes about ½ cup.)

How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice Rim Sugar

plate of pumpkin pie spice sugar

What You Need:
½ cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice

How to do it: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl until combined. (Makes about ½ cup.)

How to Make Smoky Chile Rim Sugar

plate of smoky chile rim sugar

What You Need:
½ cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

How to do it: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl until combined. (Makes about ½ cup.)


Interested in more cocktail content? Check out recipes from our first-ever beverage cookbook How to Cocktail.