Tangy lime, smooth tequila, and a hint of sweet orange . . . There’s nothing quite like a perfect, crisp margarita–served ice cold with plenty of salt and extra limes, of course.
Margaritas are my favorite alcoholic drink–probably because: 1.) Mexican food is my favorite cuisine. 2.) It’s the perfectly balanced sweet–but not overly sweet–cocktail. 3.) Maaaaybe because I have a slight affinity for tequila.
If I could serve margaritas at every house party (and every other get-together in between) I most definitely would, but the issue I always run into is finding a balance between quality and time.
#1. Quality: I’m sorry, but don’t give me any of that bottled sweet-and-sour mix crap that’s loaded with sugar and artificial flavors and is a guaranteed headache tomorrow. A great margarita involves real, fresh-squeezed lime juice. But here’s the problem . . .
#2. Time: Who has 45 minutes to juice limes to make a big-batch of margaritas before the party starts? Not me (or you), that’s who. So now we’ve reached the crux of the issue.
Enter, frozen limeade concentrate. (Minute Maid did not pay me for this.)
Now, at first this might not surprise you because many frozen margarita recipes call for frozen limeade concentrate. The intense flavor counteracts the added ice that would otherwise dilute the drink, leaving you with essentially a tequila-flavored Slurpee. But I’m suggesting you start using it for large batches of margaritas on the rocks ASAP.
You can find frozen limeade in the freezer aisle of your local supermarket, and, although it does have added sugar, it’s still leagues above your typical sweet-and-sour mix both in terms of adding sweetness and providing authentic lime flavor. Just think of this as a major shortcut on juicing limes and making simple syrup. Plus, you’re going to set out lime wedges for guests to garnish their drinks with, so there’s your “real” lime flavor right there.
The best part about using the can o’ concentrate is that, once emptied, the can doubles as a measuring cup for the remaining ingredients. And I am all about minimizing the dirty dish situation. This recipe is too easy.
These large-batch margaritas are strong, slightly (but not overly) sweet, and have the ideal balancing note of orange. Oh, wait, did I mention there’s beer involved? Corona is the key, ladies and gentleman. Serve these with plenty of ice and salt and limes on the side for guests to create their own rimmed glasses, if desired.
1 (12-oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
12 ounces cold water
12 ounces silver tequila
6 ounces orange-flavored liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
1 (12-oz.) bottle Mexican lager (such as Corona), chilled
Place limeade concentrate in the bottom of a large pitcher or drink dispenser; pour next 4 ingredients (through lager) over the concentrate, stirring with a large spoon until frozen concentrate melts and is evenly dispersed. Serve margaritas over ice with fresh lime wedges.
A few more tips for creating the best homemade big-batch margaritas:
1. Use decent booze. I’m not saying it has to be top-shelf, but there are plenty of really great tequilas available at a reasonable price (think $20 to $25 range). I used Tres Agaves when developing these and sharing with the office. It’s a fantastic go-to for margs and doesn’t break the bank.
2. I prefer to make and serve the drink in a large glass dispenser–like the giant-sized Mason jar (bonus points for being trendy-cute) pictured above, because the entire batch can easily be mixed and held in a single vessel. But you can also use smaller plastic or glass pitchers. Really, whatever gets the margarita to your lips.
3. Make sure all of your ingredients are ice cold (except for the frozen concentrate–you want to let it thaw just a little).
4. For this recipe, I heart Corona, but if you really want to use another Mexican beer, I suppose you may. That is all.