Home » Editions » Rimming Techniques with a Twist
Rimming Techniques with a Twist

Rimming Techniques with a Twist

Women love to feel special when any holiday rolls around. Valentine’s Day is certainly no exception. A bouquet of roses or Victoria’s Secret may set the mood, but how do you prolong the pleasure? To a man, there are few things sexier than a woman who shares his love of beer. If he is a craft beer drinker, the thrill of experimentation runs high on his list. His lady-in-waiting may love to try new things too.

For the purist beer connoisseur, the idea of changing the “brewer’s beer” is a mortal sin. But let’s face it. Brewers change their beer all the time. They may put a favorite recipe on fruit, age it in chardonnay barrels, or apple-brandy barrels, or barrels that formerly held Kentucky Bourbon. It’s not unusual for the brewer to create a new beer simply by changing the yeast, hops, or the hopping schedule. So why not add your own junk?

I’m not suggesting that you throw an orange wedge into your Witbier, although I’ve heard of bartenders who commonly decorate the Wit with fruit of various citrus varieties. In the Midwest, you can even watch olives in your beer gather bubbles and float to the top; then crash like a bomb before another go-around.

That said, how do you feel about rimming? By using the right moistening technique and a dip that adds complementary flavors, you set the stage for a new experience with your favorite brew. Margaritas may dance into the night with salted edginess; but beer, with so many styles available, invites rubs and powders that provide endless excitement.

The Margarita likely holds the prize for being the first drink to be served in a rimmed glass. Legends of the Margarita’s origin are numerous, giving credit to their invention in Mexico, when Carlos “Danny” Herrera allegedly poured the drink in 1938 … or in Texas when Francisco “Pancho” Morales served it in 1942. Some accounts credit a newspaper editor in Iowa with discovering the drink in Tijuana in 1936, along with others seeking uninhibited refreshment during Prohibition.

But the salt-rimmed glass didn’t make headlines until 1961, when “Rusty” Thomson introduced it at a party in Houston, Texas. This odd little idea caught on like an untamed wildfire. Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and cocktail-loving patrons embraced it heartily.

Choose Wisely

You’ve seen those festive glasses, encrusted with colored sugars, pop rocks, cocoa powder, or crushed butterscotch. Can you imagine infusing your favorite beer with any of those flavors? Choosing the right garnish for rimming requires the same sensory experience as that used for beer selection when presenting a seven course dinner. Careless rimming can knock the balance of flavors out of whack or introduce an unpleasant, off-flavor.

You want to raise beer enjoyment to the next level, so follow a few simple rules:

  • Provide choices for partial rimming or total immersion—you may wish to only rim half of the glass circumference. This gives your guest the choice of tasting the garnish or avoiding it. When using dark edging powder (such as cocoa or red sparkle sugar, for example), your guest could end up looking like the Joker in a bad Batman movie if the rimming is too heavy.
  • Use flavors that will contrast, cut, or complement the beer that will ultimately be poured into the glass. For example, Scotch Ales moistened with caramel syrup or Single Malt Scotch may be luscious, whereas Fruit Lambics are better rimmed using fruit liqueur. Oatmeal Stout may shine with luminosity when edged in a grenadine/cocoa powder dip.
  • Prepare your glasses ahead of time, if possible. Allow the edge to dry before pouring beer for the finishing touch.

Moisten with a Gentle Hand, Twist Evenly

The technique for rimming is easy to master. Choose glasses that will hold a fine edge. Spiegelau craft beer glasses in various shapes are ideal. Use the Beer Tulip, IPA Glass, or Wheat Beer Glass. A Brandy Snifter also enhances the eye candy effect.

Set up two rimming saucers: Saucer 1 for holding the moistening liquid; and Saucer 2 for distributing the dipping powder.

The dipping powder (or sugar) should be between 1/8” and 1/4” deep, and larger than the circumference of the glass. As an alternative to Saucer 1, you may use a wedge of fruit or a sponge, moistened with a complementary liquid.

Hold the glass at an angle and gently spin it in the liquid. Using the same technique, twist it slowly in the powder. If rimming only half of the glass, take care to moisten only one side of the glass. Tap off any excess before filling with beer. Allow the beer head to rise close to the rim, but avoid touching the delicate finish on the glass.

Successful Rimming

Keep in mind that you are not simply pairing one flavor with another. Rimming creates a triad of mystery, a trio of flavors bouncing off one another to awaken the palate and elicit excitement. It can be the ultimate aphrodisiac, if done well —one that stimulates the tastebuds while releasing endorphins into the brain.

What combos merge well together? Go wild with your own sense of experimentation, or launch your creativity with a few of these recipes for starters:

Already creamy and chewy with a Bourbon-soaked edge, the rich flavors of Founders Dirty Bastard Wee Heavy brighten like sun-dipped resin when moistened with Bowmore Legend dipped in caramel vanilla sugar.

Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine, rich with alcoholic warmth drenched in caramel malts, raisins and rum-dipped cherries, comes alive with amber-lit English Harbour Reserve, encrusted with bourbon smoked sugar.

Allagash White, already soft and delicate, tiptoes on the tongue with agave syrup enhanced in orange zest, powdered ginger and Demerara sugar.

Ommegang Seduction Belgian Dark, with its provocative chocolate-cherry profile, slinks toward an edge of brilliance when dipped in Grand Marnier, edged in crushed peppermint sugar and granulated chocolate straws.

Keeping it light? Mikkeller Nelson Sauvignon Bière de Champagne, served in a flute, celebrates itself with lime juice dipped in ginger sugar, a sweet ending that may only be the beginning of your rimming addiction.

About Mat Falco

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Scroll To Top