The margarita is always at the top of drink list favorites. Making them from scratch can take a lot of time and ingredients that you do not always have on hand, so staying stocked with a mix makes sense. We spent 16 hours mixing up margaritas to see which one came out as our top pick for best overall, and we think that the Be Mixed Margarita mixer is the choice for the perfect cocktail.
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History of the Margarita
While there is not one story we can verify as fact, there are legends to the story of the margarita, and here are some of the claims to creation.
Carlos “Danny” Herrera is said to have created the margarita in 1938 at his restaurant Rancho la Gloria which was halfway between Tijuana and Rosarita in Mexico. His customer Marjorie King was a former Ziegfield dancer with an allergy to most spirits – but not tequila. He named the concoction after her and word, and its popularity spread to the United States by both King and bartender Albert Hernandez who worked in San Diego at the La Plaza restaurant.
Tommy’s Place Bar also claims to have been the original home of the margarita. It is here in Juarez Mexico where bartender Francisco “Pancho” Morales created it and then told the world of his delicious margarita drink. Word spread when he moved to the United States to work as a milkman for 25 years.
While there are many other stories and legends that originate in both Mexico and the United States, one of the more popular tales is that of Husson’s Cantina in Ensenada Mexico. Bartender Don Carlos Orozco formulated the drink for the daughter of the then German ambassador, Margarita Henkel, who was visiting the cantina. As Don Carlos was experimenting with drinks, he offered her one that consisted of equal parts tequila, a Mexican orange liqueur called Controy (known as Naranja in the United States), and lime. He shook it all up, poured it into a salt rimmed glass and gave her the first sip. She must have loved it enough to have the drink named after her and put on the menu.
While we cannot prove which of those stories has the most truth to it, we can tell you that tequila is the ingredient always found in an original margarita. Variations have been created to give flair and flavor using the name margarita, but a true margarita always has the tequila and lime. They may be frozen, on the rocks, or with or without salt. In the United States, we may use the thick skinned Persian lime, but in Mexico, they are made with the smaller Mexican lime, known as the key lime here in the United States.
According to the international bartender’s association, the third component is triple sec or Cointreau. We have done our fair time in researching margarita recipes over the years, and have found flavors to delight in with an array of recipes. Unfortunately, you cannot always get a drink from scratch and so it
What Features are Important
We love a margarita but hate the hangover. That hangover seems to be multiplied by a million – or so it feels – when the ingredients in our cocktails are less than great. So we set out to get that great lime taste but without all of the unnecessary extras that fill up our glass instead of great taste. Each mixer that we looked at was based on the classic cocktail flavor, which is lime.
How We Selected
We selected each of our brands based on popularity, name brand awareness and a classic lime flavor. We did not want to compare.
Which Features We Reviewed
We reviewed the details of each margarita mix based on a four ounce pour of the mixer only. We did not add alcohol or other mixers to enhance or adjust the flavor. Since taste is an individual preference, we will make a note of it for each product specifically, but we are looking at the ingredients for our ranking section. We wanted to know how the drink mix was sweetened, and if it was done with a natural ingredient or artificial, and what those sugar components were. The calories matter because everyone should be mindful of what they consume, and this goes for the sodium as well.
The sugar added to the margarita mixes that we looked at came in a variety of forms. High fructose corn syrup is a controversial ingredient made from corn starch and is one that many health authorities feel an ingredient you should avoid. Splenda is a commercial name for a sucralose based artificial sweetener, and it has a lower caloric content than granulated sugar. Cane sugar is a naturally occurring sugar found in plants and plant parts. Monk fruit extract and stevia are plant based sweeteners that are found in the monk fruit and stevia plant.
|Margaritaville Margarita Mix||High Fructose Corn Syrup|
|Baja Bob’s Original Margarita Mix||Splenda (Sucralose)|
|Jose Cuervo Classic Lime Original Margarita Mix||High Fructose Corn Syrup|
|Be Mixed Margarita Mix||Monk Fruit Extract & Stevia|
|Margarita Texas Restaurant Style Margarita Mix||Cane Sugar|
The caloric content of each drink was measured based on four fluid ounces.
|Margaritaville Margarita Mix||110 calories|
|Baja Bob’s Original Margarita Mix||0 calories|
|Jose Cuervo Classic Lime Original Margarita Mix||110 calories|
|Be Mixed Margarita Mix||0 calories|
|Margarita Texas Restaurant Style Margarita Mix||65 calories|
Sodium content was relative because of anyone who is on a restricted diet, especially those with cardiovascular issues, need to be aware of their daily sodium intake. Too much sodium or salt can make you feel bloated or dehydrate you quicker, resulting in symptoms of a hangover.
|Margaritaville Margarita Mix||70 mg|
|Baja Bob’s Original Margarita Mix||35 mg|
|Jose Cuervo Classic Lime Original Margarita Mix||55 mg|
|Be Mixed Margarita Mix||55 mg|
|Margarita Texas Restaurant Style Margarita Mix||8 mg|
What We Liked
While it could have been in our imagination, we also felt more hydrated when drinking the Be Mixed brand, and we did not feel like we had to counter the sweetness with glasses of water as we did with some of the other mixes. However, it is always a good idea to have water when consuming alcohol. We liked the clean taste it offered, whereas some mixes have a strong chemical taste.
What We Didn’t Like
We did not like the harsh taste that some of the mixes offered, as mentioned earlier. They were too sweet or too chemical tasting. It is in our own personal experience that an unnatural drink mix harshens the effect of alcohol, resulting in a worse feeling hangover the next day. Just like eating a meal that lacks in nutritional content, so does drinking a mix with the same components.
Should you be ready to throw on your sombrero and make a magical margarita, do it up right with these fun accouterments:
Best Margarita Glasses
While not the traditional margarita style glass, we love these Novica fair trade hand blown glasses.
NOVICA Artisan Crafted Hand Blown Clear Blue Rim Glasses
If you want something more traditional, they do offer the Happy Hour Margarita glass as well – gorgeous!
Don’t forget to be prepared for those who want to get salty – just skim the rim of the glass with lime, and roll in a gourmet salt:
Caravel Gourmet offers a natural sea salt for cocktails
Or you can pair your margarita mixer with the whole kit and caboodle together for an awesome host or hostess gift with this gorgeous set from Tequila Cantina Mas Fina!
Remember to drink responsibly, enjoy your time with family and friends, and always celebrate life!
A fresh, clean cocktail made with pure ingredient is a wonderful way to unwind and enjoy gorgeous flavor combinations. The legendary margarita is just that kind of drink, blending the perfect components of tequila, lime, and essence of an orange brought in with the third flavor of your choice. For the sake of convenience, you cannot always make a craft cocktail, so drink mixers give way to a perfect solution. But as with all things, overindulging can lead to a miserable after effect, so watch what you are putting in your drink with some of these mixes and the better the ingredients, the better the buzz, and the better you will feel the next day.