The Zesty Secret To Boosting Sugar Rims

An impressive (or... not so impressive) cocktail rim can separate a world-class bartender from someone behind the bar who isn't going to make you anything more complex than a drink with its ingredients explicitly listed in the name (i.e. gin and tonic). If you've been thirsty to level up your sugar rims, there's one key ingredient you've been waiting for: citrus. Zest the peel of a fresh orange, lime, or lemon and add it to your sugar dish for instant flavorful, tangy flair.

To do it, simply prep your sugar tray as you normally would, and then thoroughly incorporate a generous pinch of fresh zest. One to two teaspoons should do the trick here, depending on how citrusy you like your rim. Use turbinado or demerara sugar here for an interesting textural component.

In a shallow dish, lightly wet the rim of your glass (about ¼-inch deep) with water or a corresponding juice of your choice. (Opt for no-pulp orange juice if you're using fresh orange zest, lime juice with lime zest, and etc.) Then, generously roll it in the sugar tray, and that's all. Your glass is ready to pump up the flavor of your next drink. We've rounded up some ideas to help get your beverage brainstorm rolling.

Grab your zester and a little imagination

Add a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest to your sugar tray and take your Tom Collins to the next level. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary for an unexpected tangy-herbaceous profile. A lemon sugar rim could also give a bright kick to sangria or a lemon drop martini. (Sip poolside for optimal results.)

The use of lime zest pair well with a mojito or even a Singapore Sling. If you prefer mocktails, a lime sugar rim could instantly elevate a glass of soda water with fresh cucumber slices and mint leaves.

You can also sprinkle orange zest into your sugar dish for a cocktail rim that will amp up your delicate Ramos Gin Fizz or add a welcome pop to the already outspoken tequila sunrise.

For a sophisticated spicy-sweet flair, try zesting a red chili pepper. Use that pepper sugar to rim a yellow tomato Bloody Mary, Paloma, or margarita. If you're feeling ambitious and aren't in a rush, gently zest a strawberry and make a tray of strawberry sugar for rimming a delicate Rosewater Cointreau Fizz or Aperol spritz.