A Mexican classic gets the cold treatment with this Frozen Margarita—tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur combined with smooth, blended ice.
Anyone who has visited Mexico and sat on a beach or by the pool and sipped a Frozen Margarita can attest to just how important ice is to this drink. As refreshing as the original, un-iced Margarita is, it is nothing compared to its snowy brethren, which is not only delicious but cools you off when that Mexican sun is getting unbearable. For those sun lovers who admit to needing a cool-off occasionally, this recipe’s for you.
While I’ve shared the origin story of the Margarita in a few places on the site (in this recipe for a Mango Margarita, for instance) there is, in fact, an origin story for the Frozen Margarita, or at least, its mass production. Mariano Martinez, a Dallas restaurateur, can be credited with the invention/discovery of the Frozen Margarita machine. The popularity of his restaurant’s Frozen Margaritas put undue pressure on his humble blender, which couldn’t keep up with demand. So Martinez sought a solution. He found it while at a 7-Eleven, whose Slurpee machines could make consistent Frozen Margaritas quickly and easily. So he bought a second-hand soft-serve machine and jiggered it to do his bidding. Is there anything a Slurpee machine can’t do?
What is the Best Tequila to Use for a Frozen Margarita?
Tequilas are separated by their age. The older the tequila, the bolder the taste. My general rule is to use lighter tequila for cocktails and reserve the older stuff for sipping, but you can do as you please.
- Blanco (silver) is light in color and taste, so it won’t mask the other ingredients in your cocktail.
- Reposado is an amber-colored tequila and is stored for two months to a year in oak casks.
- Añejo and Extra Añejo (aged and extra aged, respectively) are the oldest of the tequilas. Añejo is aged for one to three years while Extra Añejo describes any tequila that is stored longer than three years.
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. orange liqueur like triple sec or Cointreau
- 1 cup crushed ice
- salt (for rim)
- lime wheel (for garnish)
- Using a lime wedge, wet the rim of your glass and dip it into the salt. Set aside for serving.
- In a blender, combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and ice. Blend on a high setting to your desired consistency.
- Pour the blended mixture into your prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Frozen Margarita
- Switch up the salted rim for one containing sugar or infuse it with the kick of chili powder.
- For a more sippable Margarita, use less ice.
- Don’t overblend. A few too many pulses in the blender and you’ll be left with a watered-down Margarita.
- You may want to crush your ice before blending it. Your appliance will thank you.
- A Frozen Margarita needs frozen glasses. Chill them before using to keep the drink cold for longer.
Frozen Margarita Recipe Variations
Spicy Frozen Margarita: Add a pinch of chili powder, cayenne pepper, or Tajin seasoning.
Frozen Margarita Mocktail: Omit the tequila and triple sec and increase the amount of lime juice and ice.
Pomegranate Rosemary Frozen Margarita: Add frozen pomegranate seeds and a sprig of rosemary.
Melon Mint Frozen Margarita: Add frozen melon balls (honeydew or cantaloupe) and mint leaves.
Mango Frozen Margarita: Add frozen mango or mango puree (see recipe for a Mango Margarita and add ice!)