Beyond the salted rim of traditional margaritas, cocktail rims are relatively uncharted territory among chain operators. But—like skewered presentations—funky rims can captivate guests. As a bonus, rims also add to the flavor of the overall beverage, including nonalcoholic drinks, which appeal to kids. Candy is a rim option, but some chains recently began testing other unique cocktail rims. Here are a few.
Buffalo Wings & Rings: It's a Wonderful Spice
The casual-dining chain is hopping on the spicy beverage trend (with an alcohol twist) with the It’s a Wonderful Spice cocktail. The drink is made with cinnamon-flavored whisky, rum cream liqueur, chipotle, chocolate and a cinnamon crunch rim. Because the chipotle adds heat, which is relatively unexplored flavor territory for a chocolatey cocktail, the cinnamon crunch rim brings a sweet balance, as well as some texture, to the palate. The spice-forward beverage, along with a lineup of other holiday LTOs, is available through the end of 2016.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen: Pina Colada
According to the casual-dining chain, Cheddar’s new Pina Colada “will whisk you away to a cocktail paradise.” The beverage mixes rum, real fruit puree, a splash of sweet-and-sour mix and a float of dark rum. Because “a pina colada just wouldn’t be a pina colada without the coconut and pineapple,” Cheddar’s goes the nontraditional route by garnishing the glass with a pineapple wedge and toasted coconut rim. Whereas traditional pina coladas feature coconut milk or coconut cream, Cheddar’s version uses actual coconut flakes on the rim for both classic pina colada flavor and visual appeal.
Bubba Gump: Jenny’s Tipsy-Tea
The casual-dining chain’s fall Jenny’s Tipsy-Tea features vanilla rum, cinnamon-flavored whisky, mango puree and unsweetened iced tea, with a cinnamon-sugar rim. Like Buffalo Wings & Rings’ It’s a Wonderful Spice cocktail, the actual cinnamon on the rim enhances the cinnamon flavor in the whisky.
Bennigan’s Irish Coffee
Bennigan’s Sip & Swirl seasonal cocktail menu underscores an Irish coffee, made with Irish whiskey and coffee topped with whipped cream and a sugar rim. The use of the sugar is the only divergence from classic Irish coffees—traditional versions feature sugar stirred into the mix, whereas Bennigan’s features it on the rim for differentiation and added excitement.