Food & Drink

Rachael Ray road test: Can you really add salt to cheap beer?

Is there any way to spruce up cheap hooch so that your guests are fooled into thinking they’re drinking top-shelf? Every Day with Rachael Ray suggests adding a dash of salt to improve the flavor of cheap brew and serving it in glasses. (Maybe you should start by pouring a case into pretty glass pitchers before the guests arrive so nobody spots the empties?) We’ve seen some old timers add salt too. It makes sense in theory: salt makes everything taste better, so why not beer? So we tried it. We picked up a sixer of Schlitz and found that a few shakes forced every last bit of fizz to the top, which quickly flattened the brew. It also cut the acidity a bit, but basically the beer just tasted… saltier. It was better, but serving salted Schlitz at a party will not fool anyone into thinking it’s Spaten Oktoberfest.

The mag also suggests running cheap vodka through a Brita filter. A liter of Fleischmann’s is about as fiery a concoction as was ever distilled, and four runs through a Brita filter noticeably cuts the harshness. In fact, some distillers (Jack Daniel’s in particular) filter their product through activated charcoal (Brita’s main ingredient) before bottling; they call the process charcoal mellowing.

But is it safe? Brita filters are simply not meant to handle alcohol, so who knows what is leeching into your gimlet. A better bet: buy an activated charcoal filter at a supply shop like for $6.50 and process it yourself.


  1. andrea

    Must be something to it. Harpoon brewing Co. in Boston makes a brew called Old Salt Ale (ha ha). If you drink it at the brewery the bartender salts the rim of the pint glass for you. I’ve tried it both ways. Better with salt, for sure.

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