You may be asked if your margarita glass should come with salt. I always say, “No, sugar instead please.” It draws stares. I feel, well, like people think I’m some kind of sugar addict. How, how very degrading.

I don’t care if it’s true. It’s still degrading. I have to change, if not in restaurants, then at home. From an earlier post for a specific cocktail, I’m abstracting out the rimming mix that went with it. Here’s a blend of spices that you can use, instead of salt or sugar, to rim your cocktail glass. And, not just margaritas. This mix provides a bolt of flavor that matches with tropical drinks of all orders. Or, and I know this is heresy, just a glass of bourbon or whiskey can elevate to a new level with this rim extension. The flavor, just the sheer aroma, of this mix will change your perspective on your favorite beverage.

The spice mix below is a suggestion. You can add, change, mix, or match at will. But, do show some care when you first use it. This mix, for example, is hot. Truly hot.

I guess there is life beyond sugar after all.

Rimming Spice Mix


  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon habanero powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt


Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and slow whisk to mix. This mixture is devilishly hot. So, do NOT wet your finger, dip it in and taste test. You’ll be screaming and running for a beer if you do.

Source: Imbibe.com which credits Tilth Restaurant in Seattle [please visit titlerestaurant.com to learn more about this exciting New American restaurant]

 Photo Credits: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM Macro lens, shot at F/2.8 for 1/30th second at ISO 3200.