Which Cocktails Have a Sugar Rim?

There are many different cocktails that feature sugar rims to enhance the flavors of the drink. From very basic sugar rims to those with other added spices, sugar rim garnishes can be as easy or complex as you like.

Need drink ideas for an afternoon summer party or late dinner get togethers? Grab your sugar bowl and try one of these 9 drinks for your next special occasion.


One of the 6 basic cocktails, the Sidecar cocktail is a staple drink that is both easy to make and easy to drink. While the definitive creator and place of origin are heavily debated, it is safe to say the drink was invented between 1920 and 1935 in either London or Paris.

The drink is traditionally made with brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice. It is usually served straight up in a cocktail glass with a sugar rim. However, for those looking for a slightly less sweet cocktail, you can forego the sugar rim.

Hennessy, a brand of cognac, has a delicious recipe that uses their VSOP line of brandy. The spirit brings out the orange flavor of the drink and elevates the simplicity to new heights.


The Chicago cocktail is a sparkling, brandy-based cocktail that is most likely named after the city of Chicago in Illinois. Like the Sidecar, it’s made with brandy and triple sec but uses bitters instead of lemon juice.

The Chicago cocktail is topped with champagne or sparkling wine and features a sugared rim. If it features wine, it is served on the rocks in a double Old Fashioned glass. However, if the drink has champagne, the recipe calls for serving straight up in a champagne flute.

Imbibe Magazine has a great recipe for the simple Chicago cocktail. It’s an adaptation from the 1930 Savory Cocktail Book.

White Lady

The next drink on our list definitely has a pretty funny-sounding name, but back in the 1920s when it was first created the drink was a hit.

A member of the Sidecar family, the White Lady cocktail is made with gin, triple sec, and lemon juice. The drink features a sugar rim and sometimes orange for the garnish. The drink is served in a martini glass and you’ll find this drink topped with egg whites at most high-end bars.

You can find a great recipe for the traditional white lady cocktail here.

Lemon Drop

A boozy cocktail fit for any summer day is the sweet and sour lemon drop cocktail. Created in the 1970s at Henry Africa’s, a Fern Bar in San Francisco, California, the lemon drop cocktail was an instant hit.

By the 1990s the drink had many different variations, including being served as a shooter. The drink is traditionally made with vodka, lemon juice, triple sec, and simple syrup. It’s served straight up in a sugar rimmed glass.

Spin offs of the drink include:

  • Blueberry lemon drop
  • Raspberry lemon drop
  • Lemon drop martini

Ketel One has a simple recipe for the classic lemon drop cocktail. Be sure to grab a coupe glass to serve it in, chilled, and straight up.

Spanish Coffee

If you’re looking for something warm on a cold winter day that features flair, then look no further than the Spanish Coffee cocktail made famous by Huber’s Cafe. Portland Oregon’s oldest bar, Huber’s has been a west coast staple since 1879.

The Spanish Coffee cocktail features a dramatic caramelized sugar rim that enhances the cocktail made with overproof rum, coffee liqueur, coffee, triple sec, and whipped cream. It’s traditionally served warm as an after meal drink.

Find a good take on the Spanish coffee cocktail with this recipe. While the recipe calls for whipped cream, the original drink doesn’t. But it certainly takes the drink up to the next level with it!

The Great Pretender

The next drink on the list is another featuring an overproof rum. This time it comes in the form of the cinnamon and sugar rimmed, fruity Great Pretender cocktail.

While not the simplest concoction, this drink is made by mixing aged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and cinnamon and vanilla syrups. Serve the drink straight up in a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

This is a great drink to enjoy during the warm summer months with the fruity, citrus flavors throughout. Find the recipe here.


The Crusta cocktail is an absolute staple in any cocktail menu. Dating back as far as 1862 it is one of the International Bartenders Association’s (IBA) Official Cocktails. The drink was created by Joseph Santini at Jewel of The South in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Featuring cognac, triple sec, lemon juice, and bitters, the cocktail is quite similar to that of the sidecar. However, it is the addition of maraschino syrup that sets this drink apart.

The simple concoction is served with a sugared rim and the cognac can be substituted with brandy, bourbon, or rye whiskey. The beverage is a heavy one and has a firm kick on the way down.

Cherry Blossom

A modern spin on the sidecar, the cherry blossom cocktail certainly deserves a spot on our list. The cherry blossom cocktail substitutes the full brandy in a sidecar for half regular brandy and half cherry brandy.

The result is a smooth and sweet, full bodied flavor that exudes richness. Serve the drink straight up in an old fashioned glass and garnish with a sugar rim. Optional fruit garnishes include oranges and maraschino cherries.

There is a great recipe for the cherry blossom cocktail here. This recipe is even more of a spin on the classic. It calls for using vodka and sake in place of the brandy, creating a light airy flavor.

Czech Sidecar

Another spin on a more traditional drink, the Czech sidecar cocktail doesn’t have an optional sugar rim, it’s a must have! The sugar and spice rim acts as a partner to the plum flavored brandy that the cocktail features.

This version of the sidecar cocktail is a robust, full cocktail that is best enjoyed with a lighter fare. An al fresco lunch with a wedge salad would complement the fruity drink well.