Margaritas are a cocktail staple year-round, but you may not always have fresh limes on hand (or feel like squeezing a bunch of them). Are those gourmet mixes, now showing up on market shelves next to the neon green stuff, a worthy substitute? Though we knew they wouldn’t make the Perfect Margarita—which we compared every mix to—we wondered whether these fancy elixirs could save us some time if we were feeling lazy at a summer party.

CHOW tasted five premium margarita mixes (we only bought brands that contained natural flavors and colors and no corn syrup) with 100 percent agave blanco tequila, and rated them from 1 to 5 (5 being the best) based on: fresh-squeezed taste, sweetness and balance, appearance, and drinkability.


$10.99 (available at BevMo!)

Stirrings Margarita Mix El Paso Chile Company Margarita Mix Rande Gerber Midnight Bar Collection Margarita Mix Tommy's Margarita Mix Mixerz Margarita Mix
Score 3.3 2.59 2.21 2.0 1.86
They say “We use real lime and lemon juice and pure cane sugar perfectly balanced with triple sec.” “All natural margarita mix made with Meyer lemons and Key limes.” “Made with Key lime juice, orange juice and other natural ingredients.” “Hand-picked, subtly sweet 100% fresh-squeezed slightly tart, aromatic limes combined with Organic Agave nectar, purified water, and a touch of organic cane sugar.” “Fresh Key lime, Meyer Lemon and a touch of naturally sweet orange juice.”
Fresh-Squeezed Taste Fresh and tasted like lime. We were shocked. Not very lime-y. Just OK. Certainly not natural. Barely noticeable—that’s not lime! Is there lime in there? All we tasted was tart.
Sweetness and Balance Good balance all around. Seemed to overpower the tequila. More like a really good Mountain Dew. Mostly balanced but a bit too sweet. Too sweet and really syrupy. Tasted like a Sour Patch Kid.
Appearance Looked realistic and natural, like a fresh margarita. Pleasantly pale, like water. Way too fluorescent. Looked natural rather than radioactive. Looked like a urine sample.
Drinkability This was tasty—you could serve it to friends. And when you add Cointreau to it, it’s really good. OK. We’d use it in a pinch. Decently drinkable. We’d use it if we had nothing else.
Maybe drinkable … at 3 a.m.
Would make a great gift for our in-laws in Kansas—they like syrupy-sweet stuff.
See more articles