Rimming

By Ed Sikov

Cocktail Chatter

"I can't talk to you now. I'm rimming." Dan was obviously aghast. There was a momentary pause on the line, after which he said only, "Who?"

"Get your mind out of the gutter!" I cried in triumph. "It's not that kind of rimming."

"What other kind is there?" he asked warily.

"I'm creating decorative and tasty rims on cocktail glasses. You know, like salt on a margarita?"

"Very funny," he muttered, clearly indicating that he didn't find my little joke even half as amusing as I did. "I'll be home in an hour." Then he hung up.

The truth of the matter is that I was initially inspired by a very, uh, captivating porn video I'd watched a few days earlier. To be a bit confessional here, the actual practice of rimming has never appealed to me. Before. Then I saw these two most attractive young men appear to be enjoying themselves fully, executing their task with vigor. I couldn't tear my eyes away. And that's saying something, because having been a video porn reviewer earlier in my checkered career, I have seen so much bad porn that it usually does absolutely nothing for me now. (I wrote for the late, lamented Inches magazine under the by-line "Joe McKenna," which was Doris Day's character's name in "The Man Who Knew Too Much"; I added the e to "Jo" to make it conform to gender norms.)

It was through this filth that I got to musing on the word "rimming," and in a flash of pure inspiration, I realized I had the subject of my next column. Why stop at salt for margaritas? There are many things you can use to beautify and spice up the edge of a cocktail glass. So I began experimenting.

The liquor cabinet was running low, so I was forced to use my imagination; I employed only a bunch of clean glasses, a saucer full of water and several small plates. A quick tour of my spice cabinet produced an array of spices and seasonings that I paired with imaginary cocktails. I suppose a wealthier cocktails columnist would have made real cocktails to try out the various rims I created, but stocking the liquor cabinet and refrigerator for all the following drinks would have meant going without food for a few days. I'm certain these combinations will work. I wouldn't print them if I had any doubts.

Multicolored Pepper Rim

Hand-grind a saucer full of multicolored peppercorns. Take a tall tumbler, dip it in the water, and then in the ground pepper. Voila! Here you have the perfect topper for a Bloody Mary. Variation: shake some hot pepper flakes onto the peppercorns for a spicier crust, but don't overdo it.

Cracked Fennel Rim

Either buy cracked fennel from Penzey's spices http://www.penzeys.com or crush some whole fennel seeds in a mortal and pestle and dip your wetted glass into a saucerful of fennel. This would make a great Bloody Mary crust, too, as well as an interesting rim for plain frozen Absolut or the caraway flavored liquor, Aquavit. Cumin seeds would work just as well.

Sugar Rim

Pour some granulated sugar or superfine sugar onto a plate, and dip a tumbler in to form a sugar crust for a screwdriver or a Madras or a Watermelon or even a Manhattan, as long as you decrease the amount of sweet vermouth in the Manhattan to keep the drink from being cloying.

Ed Sikov is the author of the e-book, "The Boys' and Girls' Little Book of Alcohol," a novel with recipes based on his Cocktail Chatter column.

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