The glass rim is literally the first thing to hit your lips of a great craft cocktail. Interesting and flavorful gourmet salts and sugars are a dead-simple way to take your drinks-at-home game to the next level. Finishing salt or cocktail salt and infused sugar recipes are only limited by your imagination: once you master the basic technique, the flavor combinations are virtually endless. The more you make, the more your creations will no doubt evolve in depth and complexity -- just like the best marriages.
Memorize this end-all, be-all ratio from Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn blog: 1 teaspoon of flavorings for every ¼ cup of salt. The rest is like hitting the Easy Button. Pour your salt into a bowl, mortar & pestle, or food processor, add your favorite flavorings (herbs, spices, flowers, seeds) as needed or make a massive batch for sharing (rim sugars and salts can keep for up to a year when sealed in an airtight container). It's seriously that simple. Let sit for an hour (ideally overnight) before adding to cocktails to really infuse the sugar/salt with flavor.
Try making these recipes:
- Red Wine Salt by Steele House Kitchen
- Sriracha Salt by The Sriracha Cookbook
- Lime-Ginger Salt by Country Living
- Espresso Brown Sugar by Pioneer Woman
Our Favorite Cocktail Recipe:
by Kathryne Taylor, Cookie + Kate
- 1 honeydew melon
- 3 parts kosher salt
- 1 part ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
- Lime wedges
Ingredients per margarita
- 2 ounces fresh honeydew juice
- 1 ½ ounces tequila, preferably 100% agave silver or blanco tequila
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- Entirely optional: ½ teaspoon agave nectar or simple syrup, more to taste
- To make the honeydew juice: Use a chef’s knife to slice the melon in half. Use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds, then discard them. Use the spoon to scoop pieces of melon into the blender. Put on the lid of your blender and blend until there are no remaining bits of melon. Do not overfill your blender! Work in batches if necessary.
- Prepare your margarita glasses: On a small, rimmed plate, mix together the salt and chili powder. Run a wedge of lime around the top of each glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt blend at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes to your glass and set it aside.
- To make margaritas (feel free to make multiple margaritas at once): Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the honeydew juice, tequila and lime juice.
- Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds. Taste and add sweetener if desired (mine didn’t need any). Strain the liquid into your prepared glass(es). Cheers!
NEED MORE CONVINCING?
In the economics of any DIY-or-buy equation, this make-at-home basic also bank the biggest bang for your buck: a good infused gourmet sea salt or sugar from a popular artisan brand, for instance, will generally set you back about $10 per 4-ounce jar; a 2-pound (32-ounce) box of Kosher Salt or bag of cane sugar is only about $2. Put the savings toward building the home (or just the home bar) of your dreams -- and can we just say baller homemade gifts for your first holiday together?