Spirits & Liqueurs Tequila & Mezcal

The 7 Best Ready-To-Drink Margaritas of 2021

Consider these a one-way-ticket to Margaritaville

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There’s a reason Jimmy Buffet sang the Margarita’s praises so wholeheartedly; there’s a lot to love about the drink. The bright citrus flavors conjure up vacation-ready sensibilities wherever you may be, plus, the drink is surprisingly simple to make: just high-quality tequila, fresh lime juice, and a citrus sweetener.

Though its creation requires minimal effort, when you’re drinking al fresco, one simply can’t be bothered with lugging around a variety of Margarita ingredients. So opt for an easy-to-drink, ready-to-go Margarita. These pre-made drinks include everything you need for a trip to Margaritaville, including tequila, agave, and fresh lime juice, all packed in a ready-to-sip (or, ready-to-blend) format.

Whether you're looking for sweet, spicy, or classic, here are the best ready-to-drink Margaritas to get right now.

Best Overall: Cutwater Lime Margarita

Cutwater Lime Margarita

Courtesy of Walmart

One of the largest criticisms of canned cocktails is that they don’t retain the freshness of lime. Cutwater’s iteration manages to channel both the brightness and freshness of a real Margarita (plus, the tequila is particularly present). 

The Tequila is imported from Mexico, of course, and is combined with lime, orange, and cane sugar to add sweetness and balance. The tequila is on the more herbaceous side, so expect the cane sugar’s sweetness to be balanced out with grassy, vegetal notes. A salty bite and long, tart finish earned this can our top ratings.

For fans of fruitier Margaritas, Cutwater also offers Mango, Strawberry, and Pineapple riffs on the classic cocktail.

Best Mezcal: Crafthouse Cocktails Smoky Margarita

Crafthouse Cocktails Smoky Margarita

Courtesy of Total Wine

A project of restaurateur Matt Lindner and Global Bartending Champion Charles Joly, Crafthouse Cocktails amps up the flavors of a Margarita by swapping in mezcal to the traditional specs. A split base of Oaxacan mezcal and blanco tequila adds a subtle smokiness to the drink while still packing the brightness of a blanco. Crafthouse Cocktail adds fresh lime juice and sugar to balance out the spirits.

Serve it over ice with a salt rim and a squeeze of fresh citrus for the best results. At 13.9 percent, it’s light and crisp, with not a hint of syrupiness. Rather than lean on cheap neutral grain spirits, Crafthouse sources real tequila from small distilleries.

Outside of the ingredients, Crafthouse Cocktails ready-to-drink Margarita comes in a range of formats. There’s a 200-millimeter can, plus 750-milliliter and 1.75-liter bottles for larger festivities.

Related: The Best Margarita Machines

Best Budget: Buzzbox Margarita

Buzzbox Margarita

Courtesy of Walmart

Forgoing the trendy canned format, Buzzbox packs all your favorite Margarita ingredients into the nostalgic juice boxes of our youth, complete with a little plastic extendable straw. 

Buzzbox builds this boxed Margarita via silver tequila from Jalisco. The flavors are definitely there—with notes of sweet blood orange and mellow lime—but the juice box format adds a whimsical element to sipping, so added points for that. At 12 percent ABV, this isn’t for lighthearted drinkers.

Best Single Serving: Post Meridiem Spirits Margarita

Post Meridiem Spirits Margarita

Courtesy of Total Wine

This Atlanta-based distillery’s canned iterations are one of the most charming options on the market—just 3 ounces large. Don’t let the size sway you though—the cans pack a punch, weighing in at a heated 27.5 percent ABV. 

Their simple recipe calls for just three ingredients: silver tequila, orange curacao, and real lime juice. The cans are double-walled to keep the ingredients as fresh as possible through transit and storage. And the freshness really comes through.

While other options are meant to be cracked open and sipped straight, Post Meridiem prefers you give the cans a good shake and pour over ice (just like a real shaken Margarita!). 

Best Spicy (NA/Mixer): Hella Cocktail Co Habanero Margarita

Hella Cocktail Co Habanero Margarita

Courtesy of Amazon

Have a preferred tequila in your Margaritas? This is where Hella Cocktail Co’s Margarita mix steps in. Keep the bottle in your fridge and pour a few ounces over ice and your favorite tequila. What you get is truly a surprisingly excellent Margarita with minimal effort on your part—no shaking required.

The flavor profiles are relatively health-conscious: the mix calls for filtered water, lime juice concentrate, cane sugar, red pepper, lime, and rosemary extract, plus citric acid to retain the fresh citrus flavors, and habanero peppers to add heat.

On top of that, the company allows you to drink with a good conscience—Hella Cocktail Co was founded in Brooklyn by a trio of friends. One of the founders, Jomaree Pinkard, uses his success and platform to foster diversity in the spirits industry.

12 servings are included per bottle, though you can strengthen and weaken your Margaritas depending on personal preference. 

Best Organic: Austin Cocktails Margarita

Austin Cocktails Margarita

Courtesy of Total Wine

Austin Cocktails’ Margarita leans almost entirely on all-natural, organically sourced ingredients. Think consciously sourced blanco tequila, bergamot orange, lime, seltzer, and organic agave nectar to balance out the tequila notes while adding a subtle sweetness. 

While many canned Margaritas are cloyingly sweet, Austin Cocktail dodges this conception by making their own triple sec—it boasts far less sugar than standard offerings. A squeeze of fresh lime and floral Italian bergamot adds more complex citrus notes. 

To keep the drink tasting fresh even after months on a shelf, a splash of homemade seltzer is added to bring together the flavors. It’s fresh, clean, and surprisingly complex.

Related: The Best Tequilas

Best Flavored (Non-Tequila): Pampelonne Rosé Lime

Pampelonne Rosé Lime

Courtesy of Drizly

Pampelonne channels the bright citrus notes of a traditional Margarita but trades out the tequila base for sparkling rosé wine, of all things. The brand uses French muscadet wine infused with all-natural lime, passion fruit, grapefruit, and sparkling water (though there is a slight tinniness to it).

Is it a traditional Margarita? No, but it drinks like the sensibilities of a Margarita-spiked wine spritzer. Crisp, dry, refreshing with tart acidity—like summer in St Tropez. For true Margarita flavors, drink it over ice and use this as a mixer with a few shots of your favorite tequila.

At 6 percent ABV, it’s a low-alcohol alternative to some of the more high-octane options on this list.

Final Verdict

Crafthouse Cocktails (view at Drizly) and Cutwater Spirits (view at Total Wine) both do an excellent job of mimicking bartender-concocted flavors desired in a Margarita and packaging them into an easy-to-drink canned format. If you prefer to build out the drink yourself, Hella Cocktail Co’s (view at Amazon) offerings pack in all the ingredients with none of the tequila, so you can use your favorite bottle (or sub out a non-alcoholic spirit).

What to Look for in a Ready-To-Drink Margarita

Citrus

If your canned cocktail doesn’t taste fresh, citrus likely is to blame. Citrus goes badly or tastes tinny if not stored correctly. Citric acid can help this—it’s a compound found in lemons that can be added to cocktails to retain that freshness of citrus for far longer. 

Strength

Just how tipsy are you looking to get at the beach? The ABV of ready-to-drink Margaritas can vary wildly, from a mere 4 percent to a knee-buckling 30 percent. Pick your options wisely.

Sweetness

Many cocktail fans sway away from canned options as they can be cloyingly sweet. But the best options balance out the sugar with natural flavors. Look for options that lean on agave or cane sugar to sweeten, rather than fake sweeteners. Your body will thank you the next day.

FAQs

Do ready-to-drink Margaritas have real tequila added?

Some producers rely on neutral grain spirits while others work with tequila distilleries, but unless otherwise disclosed, all of these products have real tequila. For the record, tequila needs to be from a specific region to be called a tequila, so if it has that title, you know it did originate in Mexico.

How do you properly store ready-to-drink Margaritas?

If you purchased this commercially, your ready-to-drink Margarita should be shelf-stable, meaning you can keep it on a shelf until it's ready to drink. That said, avoid storing it in a light-filled spot—the UV rays can damage the flavors. 

Can you drink out of the container, or do you have to add something to it?

This will vary from producer to producer. Some makers specifically concoct their beverages so you can crack them open and go, while others ask for you to pour them over ice. At the end of the day, take a sip and figure out what serve you would prefer. 

Why Trust Liquor.com?

Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer, bartender, and sommelier. She has spent a decade behind the bar and been writing about the bar and spirits world for six years, including extensive coverage of all things drink culture. Though she’s currently a sommelier with an award-winning restaurant group, her after-shift drink of choice is a Margarita or a Daiquiri (or a Gibson). 

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