The Best Margarita Mixes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
We all want to be star bartenders when we give a party at home; however, because of the number of guests it may very well be impossible to make fancy frozen drinks from scratch with fresh ingredients. Time becomes of the essence and instead of making the perfect cocktail, guests simply want a cocktail that tastes good. One of the ways you can cut down on your drink-making time at your party is to use packaged mixes; this way your guests can have a tasty drink and you’ll be able to enjoy your get-together and chat with your friends instead of slaving away behind your home bar.
The most popular cocktail in North America to serve to men and women at parties is the famous Margarita. It can be a sweet “girly” drink by simply adding fruit and substituting a salted rim for a sugared one; the original version with its combination of tequila, sweet, sour and salty pleases even the most macho of guests. Here is our selection of the best Margarita mixes to use at your next house party.
This sugary-sweet mix, while it isn’t nearly as good as a freshly-made drink, is still good enough to use when you’re pressed for time. Although it doesn’t contain any juice, reviewers state that it’s tart enough to go well with salt. It does have a slight chemical aftertaste, and people who’ve tried say that cocktails made with it taste like hard lemonade.
Ingredients include water, corn syrup, citric acid, sodium citrate, cellulose gum for texture, gum acacia, natural flavors, preservatives, and food coloring.
Williams-Sonoma Key Lime
This offering has a few more organic ingredients and items that are a bit more recognizable as edible; although it tastes strongly of orange rather than limes, it’s good enough to serve at a party. One of the more unexpected flavors from this mix is the faint taste of honey, and reviewers say that “it hits the spot”.
Ingredients include filtered water, organic agave syrup (to highlight the taste of the tequila), sugar, tangerine juice, key lime juice, citric acid, natural flavors, key lime extract and ascorbic acid which serves as a preservative.
Jose Cuervo Original Margarita Mix
From the makers of Jose Cuervo tequila, this pre-made mix does the job and is recommended for people who prefer their margaritas on the sweeter side. Described as “yummy juice”, it is also a bit salty to bring some balance to the cocktail and also keeps the drink from tasting more like a sweet daiquiri.
Key ingredients include water, high fructose corn syrup, wine, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate, cellulose gum, natural flavors, food coloring and preservatives.
Master of Mixes
Although this mix makes a cocktail that tastes more like a sweet lemonade and definitely needs more lime flavor, it still works for party situations. It has key lime notes, but some reviewers claim it tastes of chemicals.
The list of ingredients for this pre-packaged mix include water and high fructose corn syrup, lime juice and lemon juice from concentrate, citric acid, sugar, natural flavors, agave nectar, corn starch, and an entire host of chemicals that act as preservatives and colorants.
Mr. & Mrs. T Margarita Mix
This mix has been generously described as strangely floral and soapy. Some tasters claim the sweet to sour ratio is good, but most think the mix is simply far too sweet. Unless you like sugary and soapy margaritas, you’re better off giving this one a pass. The only natural ingredient in this mix appears to be agave nectar.
Daily’s Margarita Mix
Overpoweringly sweet with absolutely no lime taste, Daily’s actually makes the world’s most refreshing cocktail cloying, heavy, and no fun to drink. The only reason why a person should serve this at a party is absolutely nothing else is available.
Bacardi Margarita Mix
Sold as concentrate to which water and tequila are added, Bacardi’s mix looks beautiful and makes a handsome cocktail. However, that is as far as it goes; where taste is concerned, it’s a sugar bomb while being overwhelmingly sour. It tastes too much like the sour candies we used to eat as children.
TGI Friday’s Margarita Blenders
This one leaves a waxy residue in your mouth and tastes of chemicals like those found in bug spray. Enough said!
Skinny Girl Margarita
Skinny Girl Margarita isn’t technically a mix; it’s a pre-made bottled cocktail, ready to pour. It’s on our list because it should never be served, no matter how much of a rush you’re in at your party. Although it’s heavily hyped in the media because it’s the brainchild of “Real Housewives of NYC” star Bethenny Frankel, the truth is the beverage is awful. Generous reviewers call the drink “watery”, while others complained the cocktail tasted of onions. The citrus flavor is too heavy, the chemical aftertaste strong, and Skinny Girl Margarita also has the delightful taste of soap.
Both of the “ugly” margarita mixes do come in handy, though; if you want to shut the party down and go to bed, these two mixes will certainly encourage guests to leave!
Remember that Fresh is Always Best
Margarita mixes, no matter how good they are, will never be as good as freshly made cocktails. If you’ve got the time, then make them from scratch. However, if you don’t, then don’t panic; our selections in the “good” category will do. If you can’t find these mixes in your local shops, just remember this rule of thumb: margarita mixes that contain alcohol will usually not taste good. Go for the ones where you need to add alcohol yourself.
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