Elizabeth Laseter

These top margarita mixes save you precious time—and they won't leave you with a hangover either. 

Elizabeth Laseter
August 07, 2018

Margarita mix can be lifesaving, especially when you need to please thirsty party guests quickly. Instead of squeezing the juice from dozens and dozens of limes, you simply pour the mix into a pitcher, add your tequila, give everything a good stir, and you’re ready to party.

Don't get us wrong—we love homemade margaritas. But when you're hosting a party, you don't always have the time to make them from scratch, especially if you have a large group. Margarita mix, which typically contains some combination of lime juice and sugar, ensures that you can fill up pitcher after pitcher in a matter of seconds. 

Take a trip to your local liquor store or grocery store, and you’ll find a plethora of margarita mixes on shelves these days. Not all are created equal—and buying the wrong margarita mix for your party can turn happy guests into hungover guests. So which margarita mix should you be buying?

RELATED: How to Make the Perfect Margarita

To find the best ones, we rounded up as many margarita mixes as we could find and tasted our way through all of them. To get a clear sense of their flavors, we tasted the mixes without the tequila. Some surprised us, while others truly made us gag. Below, find our top picks for the best margarita mixes to buy—and which ones you should skip.  

Overall Winner: Stirrings Simple Margarita Mix

Amazon

$6.99 for 25.4 fl oz (Total Wine & More)

Hands down, Stirrings Simple Margarita Mix was our favorite margarita mix. Tasters applauded this mixer for its “crisp citrus notes,” and remarked that it was “balanced, and not too sweet or sour.” Given the quality and superior flavor, we all agreed that the slighlty higher price point was well worth it. 

In fact, Stirrings' mix wasn’t too far off from what a margarita made with freshly-squeezed lime juice should be. The ingredient list is simple and straightforward, and doesn’t contain anything you’d have trouble pronouncing. Unlike the other margarita mixes we tried, Stirrings’ mix contains triple sec flavor, which gives it a pleasant subtle orange note. We also liked the inclusion of key lime juice, which has a brighter and tarter flavor than regular lime juice.

Note: We tasted two additional Stirrings margarita mixes—Organic Margarita Mix and 5-Calorie Margarita Mix. The organic costs more than the Simple Margarita Mix, and it's nearly identical in flavor. Skip the five-calorie option. 

Honorable Mention: Powell & Mahoney Classic Margarita Mix

Amazon

$7.99 for 25.4 fl oz (Total Wine & More)

For a smooth margarita mix with a clean lime flavor, Powell & Mahoney Classic Margarita Mix is your best bet. Tasters praised this mix for its “classic margarita flavor." It's not as crisp or sour as the Stirrings Simple Margarita Mix, and some tasters commented that it veered a touch on the sweet side. However, the ingredient list is also solid, and does not contain preservatives, artificial ingredients, or high fructose corn syrup. At around $8 per 25.4 fl oz bottle, this was the most expensive margarita mix that we tried—so if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly mix, this may not be your best option.    

Best Value: Trader Joe’s Margarita Mix

$2.49 for 32 fl oz 

Trader Joe’s Margarita Mix was in such high demand at our local store, it was on backorder for several weeks. When we were finally able to get our hands on a bottle, we had high expectations. To our surprise, TJ's margarita mix didn’t blow us away . “Lemonade. It’s lemonade,” said one taster, who swore he couldn’t tell the difference. He wasn't just imagining things—lemon juice is in fact one of the ingredients used in this mix. Despite this, we agreed that this margarita mix was “perfectly drinkable,” and by far the best value of all the ones we tried. The low price simply can’t be beat, even if the flavor is a bit on the weak side.

Surprise Hit: Island Dave's Margarita Mix & More

Sunday Funday!

Posted by Island Dave's Margarita Mix on Sunday, February 26, 2017

$7.99 for 32 fl oz (Total Wine & More, call for availablity)

“Weird!” commented one taster after taking a sip of Island Dave's Margarita Mix, which contains unconventional ingredients like honey and spices. That was the thing about this mix—most of us actually liked the spiced honey flavor, but no one could equate it with what a margarita should taste like. However, out of all the margarita mixes we tried, Island Dave's was the only one to use freshly-squeezed key lime juice, instead of juice from concentrate. This mix also has the least amount of sugar per serving. While it may not be the best option for a classic margarita, we'd love to try this mix in other refreshing cocktails like a mojito or a gimlet.

Best for Island-Themed Parties: Jose Cuervo Classic Margarita Mix

Amazon

$6.99 for 1.75 liters (Total Wine & More)

If you’re looking for a margarita mix with fresh, wholesome ingredients, don’t buy Jose Cuervo Classic Margarita Mix. But if you’re looking for a less expensive margarita mix that’s mild, sweet, and totally inoffensive, Jose Cuervo is a safe bet. What’s more, you can buy nearly two liters for $7, a big plus if you’re whipping up margaritas for a crowd.

One taster commented on this mix’s “shockingly smooth taste,” but also noted that it completely lacked any real lime flavor. Coincidently, the word “lime” does not appear in the ingredients list, but no matter—this stuff is cheap, it’s drinkable enough, and it will keep your guests happy. Just be careful not to go overboard, unless you want a sugar-induced headache.

The Verdict on Margarita Mix: If you’re planning to make margaritas for a crowd, using a margarita mix can save you precious amounts of time and effort. Some mixes we tried were quite good, while others—including one named after a popular Jimmy Buffet song—tasted of chemicals and a bad hangover. Even so, we still stand by our belief that nothing beats a homemade margarita.

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