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Fermented alternative to tequila for margaritas?

Anyone know of a fermented (rather than distilled) alternative to tequila for use in margaritas? A friend of mine has a restaurant - and a beer/wine license - but cannot sell spirits. I've heard of a fermented alternative to vodka - which another restauranteur friend of mine used for bloody marys, but tequila?

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  1. There isn't one. A margarita is made with tequila. Fake tequila? Gross.

    If he does happen to find some weird alternative and start serving them, he better put a disclaimer on the menu and he better be selling them cheaper than the beer and wine. I'd be one pissed off customer if I ordered a margarita and after the first sip, discovered that it was made with some fake-tequila-alternative stuff.

    1. I have had wine based Margaritas before (back in the 80's). Some restaurants were serving them for the same exact reason. It wasn't that uncommon. I think they were pre-mixed, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TroyTempest

        Well you can mix anything with anything and call it whatever you want but that doesn't make it a margarita. It's kind of like calling all these mixed drinks "martinis" these days because they are served in a martini glass - they are nothing of the sort. They are simply mixed drinks served in a martini glass.

        Again, margaritas are made with tequila.

        If you want to make it with wine call it a White Winearita or something goofy like that. Do not decieve the customer.

      2. What state are you in? In California, you can serve Soju with a beer and wine license. It doesn't make a great margarita, but it's better than wine.

        When I was in Mexico, we had what they called poor man's margarita. Mexican beer, a shot of lime juice and salt on the rim of the mug.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sku

          I think the "poor man's margarita" was a way of selling a product to Americans that would not know what a Chelada is if they saw it on the menu.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Thanks, I knew it had a name. This wasn't on a menu, just how our pals referred to it, though probably for the same reason.

        2. There is a Agave wine from Mexico on the Market it is called Los cabos this same company makes a wine based Vodka,Rum,whiskey and others. To make tequila the agave is fermented ( aka agave wine) before it is distilled to make tequila. So it has a real flavor just at a lower % of alcohol to fit the law of the state. See www.loscabosmargaritas.com

          1. I think that as long as the customer knows they're at a joint that only has a wine/beer license, it will not be a surprise that the "margarita" isn't the traditional recipe. There's a place here that only has a wine/beer license, but manages to offer some inventive cocktails nonetheless. Their margarita is made with sake. Menu with drink ingredients here:


            (I'm partial to the Tokyo Manahttan, though.)

            1. Actually, I was on my way home from work yesterday when I saw a sign that said, "Drive Thru Daiquiris." As I am in Houston and have never seen this here, I stopped and got one. It wasn't bad. The mix was obviously premixed but it did have, what I thought was, tequila. It came in a white styrofoam cup with a normal plastic lid (like a normal soda drink). Tonight I stopped and asked how they got around the open container law and was informed that it was wine-based (17% alcohol as opposed to 40%) so it fell under the wine & beer law, and could be sold as such.

              I, being the inquisitive person that I am, came home and googled. I found the following site selling this "wine-based" flavoring; http://www.premiumblend.com/

              Had I not tasted it I would never have given it a second thought, but this stuff isn't bad. In fact, I now question the cheap mexican restaurants that I get margaritas at. It is that similar.

              As a side note, I prefer the drinks that taste alcohol free but knock you on your butt! :)

              4 Replies
              1. re: Dianawine

                Daquiris are traditionally made with rum, not tequila.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  The drive through daiquiri phenomenon is referring to a mix of any number of icy alcoholic beverages that are served in such said drive through locations, not necessarily a real daiquiri. Louisiana also has pretty lax laws on the items. The open container law there (at least at one point) was by-passed by putting tape over the straw... clever. :-)

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      Cool ;-) I'm with ya.

                      I wish we had such lax alcohol laws here in GA. As it is, our bible beating governor won't even allow Sunday sales because it's "the sabbath." Oh, mind you it's perfectly legal to get in your car and DRIVE to and from a bar where they sell alcohol in all forms, but to sell it on the store on Sunday... well that's just blasphemy.

              2. Many restaurants in Boston skirt the limits of a beer/wine/cordial license by calling any flavored vodka a cordial. I suspect that's pushing it, but it doesn't bother me. You just won't catch me ordering flavored-vodka cocktails.

                Sake sounds like a promising direction if you have to stick to a non-distilled, non-fortified base. By that definition, soju would not be a viable alternative in most states: it's distilled, typically running anywhere from 40 to 90 proof. The CA exception on soju (which apparently also applies in NY state) is limited to lower-proof sojus (below 50 proof), but that is still surprising to me: that stuff packs a whallop that seems to defeat the purpose of beer/wine licenses.

                I've never tasted a wine-based "margarita" that wasn't awful.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  So is it only vodka, or does any flavored spirit count? How about lime-flavored tequila? Sounds like a good start to a margarita...

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                    Not sure, since I don't think the cordial license was intended for strong spirits. But if you could get away with flavored vodka, why not flavored tequila?

                2. Screw the margarita.Have a mexican beeer cocktail, the michelada! Beer, lime, salt, Maggi, maybe some clamato.Or, a chelada, lime and salt.

                  Pulque is fermented maguey sap(agave sap) and commercially available here in the US.They are flavored but are kind of pricey.It's not made for a cocktail but to be drank as is.The canned stuff is not as good as the natural product found in bars in Mexico.

                  Wine maragritas are awful.

                  1. Hey everyone...... just saw a video on net about the guy who made the first agave wine or should i say they talk about him and his wine video was at www.liquidassetstv.com i think it was episode 110

                    1. agave based beer, it's pre-distilled tequila. Tequiza is supposedly based on that principle.

                      1. http://www.premiumblend.com/types/har...

                        its made like wine or tequila just not distilled to the higher proof. Think mikes hard lemonade.

                        1. We are occasionally asked to do a bitters tasting in places that can't sell/serve liquor (beer/wine only). We do a riff on Tommy's Margarita using a something like Mama's Yella Pils.
                          1oz lime juice
                          1oz agave syrup (1:1 agave nectar and water)
                          2 dashes of our mole bitters
                          shake, pour over ice, top with 2-3oz of pils. Another dash of bitters on top.