Margaritas: Fresh No Lime Juice!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You don’t need to use fresh lime juice when you make frozen margaritas.

If you’ve always heard that you should only ever use freshly squeezed juice in cocktails, this probably sounds like blasphemy. But frozen drinks, especially margaritas, are one of two key exceptions to this rule. (The other is gimlets, which should always be made with Rose’s lime juice.)

It’s not just that fresh lime juice is wasted in a frozen margarita. It’s actively harmful. Frozen drinks contain far more ice than those that are shaken or stirred, and all that ice presents two problems: It dilutes the drink, and it chills the drink so much that the flavor is dampened, largely because the aromatic molecules that constitute that flavor can’t go airborne and travel into your nose at low temperatures.

To overcome these barriers, you have to use ingredients with powerful flavors when making frozen drinks. Fresh lime juice tastes lovely, which is why it’s great in margaritas served on the rocks. But it’s mostly water, so it’s also quite subtle. If you use it in a frozen margarita, you won’t really be able to taste it, so you’ll end up with something wan and unbalanced, like a tequila-flavored Slurpee.

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