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There’s no better way to get through sweltering heat than with a strong, salty/sweet frozen margarita.
Advances in at-home margarita machines mean that blending these boozy beverages has never been easier. To make the best frozen concoctions this side of Margaritaville, we reached out to the pros for recommendations on everything from recipes to the best blenders.
1. Best For Smooth Blending
Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker & No-Brainer Mixer
Award-winning Barbadian mixologist Phillip “Casanova” Antoine knows how to craft the ultimate tropical drink. He travels the world as an unofficial Caribbean ambassador and has whipped up concoctions for everyone from rapper Drake to Jamaican dancehall star Popcaan.
“The perfect frozen margarita should contain the following: tequila, triple sec, simple syrup—something sweet is needed to get the perfect, balanced taste—and one freshly squeezed lime,” says Antoine.
Antoine prefers the classic margarita on the rocks, but he admits frozen margaritas are the best for hot summer days. “A powerful blender that will get the ice to a smooth consistency, so there are no chunks is needed,” says Antoine. “This is very important so the frozen margarita can be smooth and refreshing.”
2. Best For Single Servings
Magic Bullet Blender
“Margaritas are the quintessential summer escape cocktail,” says Martin Hoffstein, the founder of JAJA Tequila. “Whether you are poolside or inside, margaritas take you to a special place.”
Hoffstein recommends the Magic Bullet personal blender, which can be taken almost anywhere and is ideal for small, after-work solo batches. “Once you take a sip, you’re far away from the stress of life and ready to chill.”
3. Best High End
“Using great tequila is going to make a huge difference,” says Erin Hayes, beverage director at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. He prefers the bright, vegetal and fresh taste of Lalo Tequila.
“Or try mezcal for a more earthy and smoky play on a traditional margarita,” he says. Hayes says making sure you use the right amount of ice, about 20–25% water content. Also, always use fresh lime juice, which will “make you question everything you drank in college.” He recommends agave syrup as a base ingredient.
Here’s his favorite recipe:
2 ounces Lalo Tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce Cointreau
¼ ounce Agave Syrup (optional)
¾–1 ounce ice
“You can also measure and freeze the lime juice, agave syrup and water into ice cube trays and then just add to the blender with the tequila and Cointreau for a quick and easy frozen marg,” says Hayes.
As for blenders? “I love my Breville Boss blender,” says Hayes.
4. Best Splurge
Along with the Breville Haye also notes “if you can afford to splurge, a Vitamix is the way to go.”
5. Best on a Budget
Oyster 6812-001 Core 16-Speed Blender
The key to the perfect frozen margarita is a quality, 100% blue agave tequila,” says Michael McGee, beverage manager at Ponte Vedra Inn & Clubs in Florida. “We like to use a blanco tequila for our frozen margarita, but for an even smoother cocktail experience, choose a reposado or añejo,” he says. The Ponte Vedra team likes a 2:1:1 ratio of spirit to sour and sweet.
“Commercially, we like the Island Oasis blenders, but for personal home use, it’s hard to go wrong with the Oyster 6812 16-Speed,” he says. “The key is patience when blending. The longer you blend, the more consistent and colder the cocktail will be.”
6. Best For Parties
Margaritaville Tahiti Margarita Machine
“It definitely is frozen margarita season,” says David Vendley, co-founder of popular Mexican restaurant Calexico in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York. It’s become a local margarita mecca.
“Our secret is making all ingredients from scratch and using fresh juices—you can tell the difference between bottled and fresh squeezed lime juice—and simple but fresh ingredients,” says Vendley. “You can never go wrong with 100% agave tequila, fresh lime juice and simple syrup in the right proportion.”
Calexico uses a commercial-grade Taylor blender to whip up hundreds of frozen margaritas each week. For home use, the Margaritaville Tahiti Margarita Machine, made for margaritas, smoothies and other frozen drinks, allows ambitious hosts to create up to three 24-oz pitchers of margaritas at once. That will keep the party going all summer long.
7. Most Versatile
Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System
“When it comes to frozen margaritas, I like to use a good reposado tequila, rather than a Blanco,” says Tyler Pierson, bartender at rooftop bar Peregrin atop Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Georgia. “Due to how cold the margarita is, once we take a sip, we tend not to swallow the cocktail as quickly. Therefore, [we can] taste it more and [appreciate] the flavors of the aged tequila.”
For a twist on the classic, Pierson recommends to add Crème de Cassis or Crème de Mure.
“It is a great way to incorporate berry flavors, plus it adds a nice color to your frozen margaritas,” he says.
Pierson prefers to use a Ninja at home, which helps to create a quality consistency, critical to frozen drinks.
8. Best for The At-home Pro
Ninja BN701 Professional Plus Bender
“The wonderful thing about the margarita is that it’s a crowd-pleaser that can be made to your personal preferences,” says Wallace Neff of the Heritage Bar Mixology Team.
“If you use a high-quality tequila and fresh citrus juice, you’re guaranteed a winner, the rest is up to you. From jalapeños and Tajin to fresh fruit, the list of ways to create your own ‘perfect’ margarita is endless.”
Neff recommends a small splash of orange juice to finish alongside an agave sweetener or simple syrup instead of Cointreau or Triple Sec. “The lime’s freshness and the agave’s complexity give the cocktail a well-rounded yet fresh and not-to-sweet flavor.”
“A great go-to blender for making margaritas at home is the Ninja Professional Blender,” he says. “It quickly crushes the ice and results in a smooth, well-blended margarita. Plus, it’s on the larger side and is great for making larger batches.”
A Few Last Tips of Picking Frozen Margarita Machines
When choosing a frozen margarita maker, pay attention to wattage. The higher the wattage, the more power it will provide and the smoother the drinks will be.
Try to find something from 400 to 1,000-watts. Some other features to keep in mind, especially when using a pre-made margarita mix, include built-in measuring tools and liquid markings, salt rimmers for that perfect flavor and final touches, and the ability to switch settings depending on desired textures.
From there, just choose your ingredients and blend until smooth. Then salt a few rims and sip to an epic sunset.