You can make a frozen Margarita out of pretty much anything by throwing ingredients into a blender with tequila, syrup and lime juice—but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Old school shaken Margs with flavorful add-ins are even harder to get right. In our collective constant boredom, drinkers have invented an ever-growing number of flavored Margarita variations, a few great, a few acceptable, and some we just can’t with. Here’s a definitive ranking of flavored Margaritas, from worst to best.
Where do you think you are, avocado? This isn’t a green juice shop. Get out of here before you get bruised. We could overlook the fact that avocados turn Margaritas an unfortunate green, but even if we close our eyes, the texture is dead giveaway, like someone mixed cream cheese with pesto. Margs should be bright, tart, sweet and refreshing, not buttery and cloying. Avocado farmers have played some sort of genius prank with this drink on the cult of basic avocado lovers, and we’ve had enough of it.
Cranberries come into peak season in the middle of winter, when approximately zero people want a fresh Margarita. Either you’re stuck drinking an in-season Marg when snow has covered all the best beach drinking spots, or you use syrupy cranberry juice in the middle of summer and feel like an abomination to Mother Nature with your mass produced, cranberry-flavored sugar water. The choice is yours (and the obvious right choice is picking a different flavor).
A Coconut Marg is a wonderful drink—if you make it with rum instead of tequila. The flavors of coconut and tequila certainly work together, the buttery coconut giving body to the vegetal and citrusy flavors of the spirit, but we can’t help but wish we were drinking a Piña Colada instead.
We love pretty much everything pineapple, so this was kind of cheating. The bursting tropical fruit flavor of pineapple meshes particularly well with a reposado tequila, making an elegant yet zippy Marg to brighten your day, but the balance is pretty tricky on this one, which knocks it down a few pegs. Though, to really experience Margarita nirvana (aka, Margvana), overachievers should add a grilled pineapple wedge, which brings all sorts of smoky-sweet aromas and flavors to the tropical Marg situation.
The name prickly pear is a bit of a misnomer, but the flavor is entirely authentic to the Margarita. The bright pink bulb actually grows at the end of cactus leaves, making it a cousin to the agave that ended up in your tequila. Prickly pear syrup gives the Margarita a wonderful floral touch to peppery, fresh tequilas, and imparts the entire drink with a vibrant pink hue, making it not only one of our favorite Margarita variations, but also our favorite pink drink, period. Still, it’s a subtle flavor, ruined by the wrong choice of tequila.
Serious summer heat calls for serious beverage weaponry. If the classic Margarita is an atomic bomb, wiping out thirst and blasting your entire palate with sweet-tart flavor, then the Cucumber Margarita is a smart bomb, targeting the exact spot in your brain that controls your inner temperature. We guarantee, a few sips of this vegetal cocktail and you’ll instantly feel at peace, no matter how debilitatingly sweaty it is outside. Just let the cucumber wash over you.
Creamy in all the great ways the Avocado Marg isn’t, the Mango Marg is a study in rich pleasure. With honeyed sweetness, bright lemony sweetness, and a touch of what we can only assume is pure sunshine, the fruity drink will cover your palate in tropical joy. A spicy rim really elevates the fat sweetness of the cocktail, but even without it, the Mango Marg is perfect for an indulgent craving. We just want to dive right in there and live in this drink forever.
Spicy Margs are absolutely delicious for exactly one sip, blowing you away with grassy vegetal flavor and enough firepower to drive all of the classic Margarita flavors deep into your taste buds. But they simply can’t take the top spot because they pretty much numb your entire mouth thereafter, and numb is not a flavor. Still, we can’t stay away from a (properly balanced) Jalapeño Margarita. If a standard Marg gets the party started, a spicy Marg made with fresh pepper gets the party lit.
The quintessential flavored Margarita, the deep red strawberry variation is a staple at Tex-Mex joints and cocktail bars for a reason. Explosively juicy, perfectly textured, enticingly aromatic, utterly nostalgic, and expertly balanced, the Strawberry Margarita cannot be topped. When people hear the blender whirring with a frozen Margarita, this is what they’re imagining and salivating for. We’re pretty sure this is why blenders exist. Every sip reminds us that we could drink this Marg forever.