Chili Lime Mango Margaritas

If you want to turn an ordinary cocktail into a special treat, frosting the rim transforms the humdrum glass into a sparkling eye-catcher for a festive event. The small amount of sugar or salt on the rim of the glass doesn't add much to the nutrition of the cocktail itself. But frosting a glass is just plain fun. You'll get a mental health boost from the small amount of work you put into the effort, and your friends will rave at your creativity.

Basic Technique

The method for frosting the rim of a glass holds true for any cocktail, liquid and rimming substance you use. And, it's amazingly easy even if you aren't Martha Stewart. Place about 1/8 inch of sugar or salt on a small, flat plate and the same depth of liquid in a small bowl or saucer.

Holding the glass upside down, dip its rim in the liquid, letting excess drops fall off. Then, continuing to hold the glass upside down, place it in the salt or sugar, giving it a little shake for a second to thoroughly coat the rim. Then, tap the side of the glass with your other hand to remove excess sugar or salt. Instead of dipping the glass in the liquid, you could instead rub around the rim with a lemon or lime wedge.

Typical Combinations

Frosting ingredients, both liquids and solids, can complement the flavors in your cocktail or provide an interesting contrast. Salt and lime, for instance, work well with the tequila in margaritas. Try watermelon liquid or orange juice paired with plain sugar or coarse sugar crystals to deepen the sweetness of drinks like strawberry or mango daiquiris.

Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Any form of sugar works for frosting, because who doesn't like a shot of sweetness? Choose colored sugar to brighten up an informal party, coarse sugar to give your drink a crunchy sweetness or multi-colored sugar sprinkles for a festive glass of Champagne on New Year's Eve. Brown sugar works well with rum drinks such as mai tais or Cuba libres. Other possibilities include muscovado sugar, with a strong molasses flavor, or date sugar, with a butterscotch taste and full of healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber. To cut back on calories, substitute a sugar substitute, such as one made with coarse-grained stevia or, if you can find it at specialty stores, tagatose, which looks and tastes like regular sugar.

Instead of Sugar or Salt

Let your creativity and whimsy soar when choosing liquids and frostings. Because salt brings out the flavor of other frosting ingredients, keep it in the mix even if you add other flavorful ingredients. Try a mix of chili powder or herbs and salt for a bloody mary, or any fresh citrus zest or dried citrus peel mixed with a dash of salt for daiquiris. Go crazy with cocoa for a white Russian, very small flaked coconut for a pina colada, or espresso powder for a brandy alexander.