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May 2, 2011 08:16 AM

Salt or no salt?

Been reading about the salted rim of a margarita and getting very mixed signals. Some say purists insist on salt because it enhances the flavor of the drink; some say purists insist on the opposite because it merely masks a poorly/cheaply made drink.

I'd thought it was the latter, but now I'm not sure. Expert opinions?

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  1. Does it matter what purists think? Do what you think tastes best. Personally, I like the salt, and I've seen it on very well made drinks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sku

      When I'm drinking it myself? No, it doesn't matter. But as a writer, do I believe you have to know the rules before you break them (or write about them)? Absolutely.

      Granted, the answer may simply be a non-answer: some say yes, some say no, and so it shall ever be.

    2. Try salt mixed with sugar. Just salt is too strong.
      Quote from Good Eats.

      In the words of, famed authoress and wit, Irena Chalmers, "Salt is what makes things taste bad when it's not in them.

      1. I would not be happy to be served a sugar/salt rim at a craft cocktail bar. A properly-mixed Margarita with quality ingredients should be well-balanced for acid without sweetening each sip.

        Experts usually recommend salting one half of the rim, giving the imbiber an option for each sip. Be sure no excess salt falls into the glass.

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        2 Replies
          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I'm a half-rim of salt girl. I like options. Salt really adds another layer to the drink, but it can easily overwhelm the drink if there's too much.

          2. I don't like salt on my Marg, but I'm not much of a salt fan period.

            I also don't use the salt and lime (training wheels) when drinking tequila straight, though it has gone somewhat out of fashion.

            I feel if you use good fresh citrus, decent 100% agave tequila, and good orange liquer, the salt just nukes your taste buds.

            1. I like salt in my margarita. I don't salt the rim but add a dash to the drink. I find it enhances the taste for me and I'm using quality ingredients. No mix

              1 Reply
              1. re: scubadoo97

                I am a fan of salt and usually salt half the rim when making one at home. I recently ordered a margarita at a bar that came to me, incorrectly, with no salt. I thought it would be silly to send it back for such a small reason, but I was quite surprised how much it changed the taste, the experience, and how much I missed it. I imagine I miss a salted rim more at a bar, where margaritas, on average, tend to be much sweeter than how I make them at home.