Margaritas are kind of a “thing” in our family. My step-Mom Mary is famous for her Margaritas, mostly because they’re extra boozy and will knock you down if you drink more than one.
When we arrived in Mexico, it was only natural that we would buy some mixer and tequila at the local grocery store so that we could enjoy a favorite cocktail in its natural Caribbean habit.
We were horrified to find that, although Tequila was relatively cheap, the mixer was crazy expensive! I knew that every hole-in-the-wall joint in this town was serving delicious Margarita’s and I was sure they weren’t paying $3 US for a liter bottle of mixer.
It turns out there are only 3 ingredients in a simple Margarita mix recipe; water, sugar and fresh lime juice. Not only is it much cheaper to make your own mixer, it tastes a lot better than the pre-made stuff that you buy at the store. Think fresh squeezed orange juice versus Tang.
But how cheap is it to make your own Margarita mix? Water in Mexico is not free. NOBODY drinks the tap water here. The most economical way to buy drinkable water is in a 20 liter jug for about $2 US. The water for this recipe will cost about $0.10 US.
The best price I’ve seen for limes is $7.5 pesos for a kilogram. That translates to $0.19 US per pound. I use 10 limes or about 2 pounds in a batch of mixer, at a cost of $0.38 US.
We buy “sugar in the raw” here because it’s cheaper than white sugar, but standard white sugar is fine for this recipe. Sugar in a standard 1 kilogram package is $0.68 US per pound. We’ll use most of a pound of sugar in this recipe. That totals up to about $1.16 US per batch.
Here’s how to make the perfect Margarita mix for your next party:
- 1 part lime juice
- 2 parts water
- 1 part sugar
Extract the juice from the limes. I typically use 10 limes to make a batch of mixer. Measure the juice to determine how much water and sugar to use, and then set the lime juice aside.
Add the water and sugar to a pan and place over low heat. Heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. Tada!! You just made a simple syrup. Allow the simple syrup to cool before proceeding.
Combine the cooled simple syrup and lime juice in a pitcher and stir.
That’s it! Just put it in the fridge to chill. When you’re ready for your cocktail, add tequila and ice. If you want to get fancy, you can salt the rim of your glass, or add a slice of fresh orange.
Keep in mind that you can tweak the proportions to your own taste. The original recipe I made was too tart and syrupy sweet, so I reduced the sugar and increased the water.
I’m afraid that I’m now completely spoiled by fresh, home-made Margarita mixer. Give it a try and let me know what you think!