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Best margarita mix??

  • c

I hope I've got this on the right board.

I'm throwing a party on Saturday and I've done sangria to death. I thought margaritas might be a good alternative.

My problem is that I'm a margarita purist. When I make them for just hubby and me, they're nothing more than fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup. I have no desire to spend God knows how long juicing lemons and limes to make a large batch. But, I also have no idea which mix to use in its stead.

Does anyone here have a recommendation for a margarita mix that's not cloyingly sweet and might be an acceptable substitute to the real thing?


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  1. My favorite margaritas (at a few select restaurants I know) are all made with either a frozen, or fresh pastuerized, straight lime juice, but not limeaid or Roses. Maybe because we're in NY, so we don't have an abundance of fresh, juicy limes anyway. The brands I know are Sun Orchard (fresh) and Neilsen's (frozen). I've seen them at specialty stores

    1. I've tried liquid and frozen concentrate mixes from Cuervo, Sauza, Bacardi, Margaritaville, Mrs. T's, etc. They're all consistently terrible.

      There's one mix that I love, but the name completely escapes me right now and I can't find it on safeway.com. Maybe someone can help. It's in a clear long-neck bottle (like every other mix), but the liquid is noticeably not uniform. If you let it sit, the particles in the lime juice settle to the bottom. Not to say that it's pulpy, but it's definitely real lime juice.

      The label is tan, with a drawing of two down-home lookin' cowboys on it. Dr. so and so and Boone? It's driving me crazy. The name is very silly. Help?

      You could just go to a big supermarket and try to find it. Some of the smaller markets don't have it. It has a long description on the back about why it's the best. And really, it's the best I've come across. It tastes like lime juice in a bottle, very little sugar added, no strange chemical taste like with Mrs. T'.s

      1 Reply
      1. re: nooodles

        You're thinking of Dr. Swami and Bone Daddy's Margarita Mix - the best on the market, in my opinion.

      2. First, nix the triple sec - its too sweet and hides the flavor of the tequila. Then, replace the simple syrup with agave nectar (see link below), its not too sweet, compliments the flavor of the tequila and is better for you than sugar.

        Regarding margarita mix, nothing is as good as fresh lime juice. Tommy's Heavenly Mix comes close, but its not available nation-wide. When I don't have time to juice my own, I go to the nearest Latin neighborhood and look for a market with fresh juice or a juice stand.

        My most frequent ploy when I can't make a perfect margarita is to not make margaritas at all, but to make a cocktail native to the Guadalajara/Tequila region (which the margarita is not) - either a Paloma or a Batanga. Both drinks are made the same way, the only difference is the mixer.

        Paloma - grapefruit soda, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of salt, tequila
        Batanga - kosher Coca-Cola, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of salt, tequila

        Take a glass, put ice in it, add a pinch of salt, squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime, add tequila, give the glass a shake to mix the ingredients, fill the remainder of the glass with soda. Stir. Enjoy.

        At my last tequila party, guests preferred the Palomas to the Batangas 2-to-1. But my husband loves the Batangas so we still make them on occasion. In Mexico, they tend to use either Fresca or Squirt; here in SF, I tend to use Trader Joes brand grapefruit soda which is much less sweet.

        Link: http://www.madhavahoney.com/agave.htm

        4 Replies
        1. re: Pssst
          JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

          Tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar may be good, but it ain't a Margarita anymore.

          The problem is in adding the simple syrup. Triple sec is a sweet liqueur; adding simple syrup to the equation is going to result in a powerfully sweet, unbalanced cocktail. Go with 2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of triple sec, 3/4 ounce fresh lime, shaken very well over ice, and served traditionally straight up.

          And when you salt the rim of the glass, rub a lime wedge *only* on the outside of the glass, then dip the rim into kosher salt. That way, you don't get half a teaspoon of salt dissolving in your drink.

          Incidentally, I'm guessing that Mexican Coca-Cola is kosher? I'm not a big fan of American Coke, but if I get my hands on a Mexican one, it's heaven in a bottle.

          1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            I always use Grand Marnier instead of triple sec, I float it on top or even serve on side in a shot glass. Not as cloying as triple sec.

            1. re: coll

              We use grand marnier or even cointreau when drinking a good enough tequila to justify the additional cost. Otherwise just triple sec. Our proportions are 2 parts tequila to 1 part liqueur to 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice, shaken and served with salted rims. Never lemons and never sugar syrup or agave nectar.

              To the OP: if you and hubby share the job the night before, squeezing enough fruit shouldn't be a problem (altho it can get costly).

            2. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

              My margaritas are anything but cloyingly sweet. I use equal parts citrus juice to tequila (reposado) and 1/2 part Triple Sec. The simple syrup is a very small component of the overall mix and is added just to the point of avoiding the pucker.

          2. I have gotten one from Williams Sonoma made by the Old El Paso Chili Co. that is pretty tasty. They use some Meyer lemon juice it that adds an interesting note.

            1. It's not exactly authentic, but we like margaritas made with Minute Maid limeaid concentrate. It has the advantage of being cheap, easy to find, and fairly straightforward -- no weird chemical taste as from the mixes.

              Another thought is to use your recipe with a decent lime juice -- there's one that's sometimes available at Trader Joe's (Aunt Nellie's, I think).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Dizzied
                Margarita MASTA!

                Ok check this out. This one blows all away. For this margarita, use zero tequila. substitue it with Everclear. Also use apple juice and triple sec. i will not give the increments that, will be for you to figure out as I did. Enjoy!

                1. re: Dizzied

                  When it is hot, I use two ounces of "Simply Limeade" to my 2:1:1 traditional margarita (in a highball glass filled with ice).

                2. I'm not a fan of margarita mixes; they are too sour and/or sweet for me, and I think margaritas look nicer when they are more gold in color than green.

                  The best margarita recipe ever:


                  I've made them without fruit (using Rose's to rim the glass for salt), and they still turn out great.

                  1. Depending on where you are, Trader Joes sometimes carries a fresh margarita mix--in the refrigerated juice section--that's pretty good. Oops, just noticed this is a 3 year old thread.

                    1. The best Margarita mix is definitely from Steve’s Frozen Chillers, I’ve tried them all. http://www.stevesfrozenchillers.com

                      1. I can't say I agree with any of the suggestions so far. Here's my 2 cents:

                        half lemon juice and half lime juice, pinch sea salt, optional sugar (I usually leave it out, although I have tried and enjoyed the agave nectar suggestion) include zest from both fruits, (I think I do about 4 tablespoons of zest per half cup of juice) let the combination steep in the fridge overnight. Strain it, shake with a tequila blanco with Grand Marnier or half Grand Marnier, half Damiana. Lime and salt rims.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: wwiggins

                          Emeril has a "tin can" margarita. It's not as good as fresh squeezed, but is vastly more convenient. And still pretty tasty. Use one can of defrosted limeade concentrate. Mix with one can of tequila and one half can of triple sec. Mix or blend, works well both ways. Saves you the lime squeezing carpal tunnel and still has a nice end product.

                          1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                            I can attest that this works. If you like frozen margaritas, add this concoction with ice in a blender and you are good to go ...

                        2. I'm not a big fan of mixes either.Here's my favorite.6oz Sauza Gold tequila,6oz frozen limeade &12oz beer.{PBR works best]Add to blender full of ice blend..

                          1. Fat Mama's Knock You Naked Mix, available online if you google it.

                            1. I've tried TONS of margarita mixes. Some are so disgusting and you can tell by looking at them. the bottle is an abnormal green and the ingredient list is missing any sign of real juice. i primarily use mixes because i have a margarita machine and it's WAY EASIER to use a lime based mix than squeeze a crap load of limes. the best one i have found so far is margarita texas mix. usually pour in my blender at this ratio:
                              4oz mix
                              3oz tequila
                              2oz orange liqueur
                              link: http://margaritatexas.com/mix

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: smithy

                                When limes are in season, it takes about 1 maybe 2 at the most limes for a 4-5 ounce cocktail. How many cocktails does this machine make?

                                eta: I see you use more mix than tequila. So I guess that would be a lot of limes and sugar. although a very sweet drink tasting nothing of tequila.

                                1. re: smithy

                                  I was looking for a limeade margarita recipe last year & came across that website. I'll have to try your recipe but I've been quite happy with the following...


                                  I did have to add just a few fresh limes & adjust limeade amount.

                                2. Yep, there's nothing like a homemade margarita, but they take some time!

                                  Here's a homemade alternative that doesn't require so much squeeziing.

                                  GRAPEFRUIT MARGARITA: USE HUGE RED GRAPEFRUIT INSTEAD OF LIMES, really amazing stuff!!!! Yep, you can add a little fresh squeezed lime if you prefer a little more acid. Plus, you want to roll your hand firmly on the whole grapefruit on the counter, this will release the juices from the pulp. Don't go too high end on the tequila. I usually use a blend of Costco Kirkland house brand Reposado Tequila, plus the Sauza Gold.

                                  Oh, and forget the triple sec as it's too sweet...use sprite, 50/50, fresca, squirt, or and/or soda water for tweaking. Avoid the recipe referenced above that calls for Everclear, that's sacriledge, plus a disaster waiting to happen.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: StreetFed

                                    While I'm sure this tastes lovely (aside from the Sauza Gold, Sprite, Fresca), it's not a margarita.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      When you're in the mood for a fresh squeezed margarita, but the grocers limes are sort of tough and dried out, the grapefruit variety is a great alternative.

                                      Try it, you will love it :)!

                                      1. re: StreetFed

                                        I would drink a cocktail make with 100% agave and grapefruit juice, but it wouldn't be a margarita.

                                  2. I use Simply Limeade when making big batches of margaritas. It's just water, sugar and lime juice. Add more fresh squeezed lime if it's too sweet.

                                    And Grand Marnier. Definately Grand Ma.


                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: mtoo

                                      This is an oooooold thread, but I also use Simply Limeade when I'm making a huge batch of margs for a party.

                                      1. re: mtoo

                                        I bought some Simply Limeade to try... it has some kind of nasty taste and aftertaste to it. I couldn't bring myself to mix it w/ the tequila. It is a good idea though if one can get past the odd taste.

                                        1. re: MsAledella

                                          Interesting. I've never noticed an off taste and I have a Court of Master Sommelier-trained palate.

                                          1. re: MsAledella

                                            Interesting, I noticed an offtaste as well when I first bought Simply Lemonade. Kids don't seem to mind...

                                            1. re: ceekskat

                                              Oooops. I've been talking about Newman's Limeade this whole time, not Simply Limeade. Don't think I've ever seen S.L. before.

                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                Great! I will definitely try Newman's Limeade. Don't bother trying the S.L. With your highly trained palate you will detect the musty essence of an old diaper pail mingled with bitter spoiled lime rind. Yuck!

                                        2. My old roomate used to make margaritas in a blender with a can of frozen limeade, fill the can with tequila & add two beers. If you want it frozen add ice or just drink it on ice. It was really tasty.

                                          Now that I live in Mexico, we only use fresh lime. I always have to warn vistors that the margs are made with real lime. They always think it's something they ate when they get the runs, they tend to forget that 6 margaritas with real lime juice can wreck havoc on the tummy!!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: clienta

                                            And all these years I thought that was from the tequila!! Ha! Good to know.

                                            1. re: MsAledella

                                              Lime juice, in margaritas or any other cocktail, doesn't mess with my stomach. 6 cocktails, however, probably would.

                                              1. re: tommy

                                                Fresh lime juice has given me a little heart burn at the end of a drinking session, but only if I am getting a little nutty with using too much and drinking on an empty stomach ....

                                              2. re: MsAledella

                                                Any fruit juice will do that to anyone if they have enough of it. I'm sure the citric acid only makes it worse...but the amount of sugar in fruit will give someone diarrhea.

                                            2. IIRC, there is such a thing as frozen lime juice...