I've been making margaritas and I've found that, unlike fancy bar/restaraunt bought margaritas, my margaritas come out more like a liquid drink with shaved ice sitting in it than a mixture. I have a Margarittaville mixer for proper shaved ice, but the final drink lacks the same thickness I'm used to in a margarita; the exception being strawberry margaritas. With (lots of) real strawberries the drink comes out much thicker and smoother to drink.

Is there some ingredient that can thicken the mix for a smoother drink? Generally I use tequila, triple sec, agave nectar and then either a mix, strawberries, limeade or whatever for flavor.

  • If you wish to make frozen margaritas, this link can help you : dressyourhorse.com/page/how-to-make-great-frozen-margaritas
    – Sweet72
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 21:17
  • 1
    alcohol.stackexchange.com might be a better fit for this
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 12:07
  • Thick restaurant frozen margaritas are not made by mixing in shaved ice. The machines freeze while stirring.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 12:12
  • @Paparazzi, the question is from 2013. We won’t migrate an old question, especially with existing good answers. Some overlap in scope is ok, and it’s the user’s choice, where to put it.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 6:34
  • @Stephie I did not request a migration.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


If the restaurant or bar is using a margarita mix, they frequently contain additional syrups and stabilizing gums or starches which add body to the drinks. It could also be that the high powered blenders frequently used in bars will be better at creating a smoother and thicker texture, or a more 'emulsified' slush.

If you want to try making it thicker at home, the agave nectar is a good start. You could also try adding very small amounts of food gums, like guar gum or gum arabic. It may also help to chill all of your ingredients thoroughly before blending to keep it as frozen as possible.

  • Just ordered some Guar gum, about how much will I use per oz of liquid?
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 21:44
  • It looks like the usage levels are usually .1-1% of the finished product, so very, very little. For a cup of liquid, you'd need from .2 - 2.25 grams. I'd start at the low end and work up. Gums can sometimes add an... unpleasant texture at high levels.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 21:53
  • Not sure I can even accurately measure that, I guess I'll start with a teeny pinch
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 2:45

Most restaurants/bars use a special machine for frozen margaritas; blenders are too noisy and too small-scale if they're selling enough of them (unless their entire business is frozen drinks, in which case they'll structure their bar around the blenders like an alcoholic Jamba Juice). These machines are virtually identical to frozen slush drink (icee/slurpee) machines, the only difference is what goes in them. The slush is made by chilling the mix below freezing while keeping it moving; that way it can't freeze solid like ice cubes.

Short of buying your own (the real foodservice-grade machines start around $1200) or even renting (they can cost $100 a half-day, and often the minimum capacity is a few gallons' worth of mix), here are some tips:

  • Make your ice from your base drink mix ahead of time (i.e. your 7-4-3 mix of tequila, triple sec/syrup and lime juice for a margarita; you can add your strawberries, mangos etc in the blender). This helps in two ways; first, the ice slush won't weaken the drink as it melts, even if your guests really hit them hard up front leaving that snowball in their glass, and second, a little alcohol and sugar in the ice will keep it from forming that tough crystal structure, so the ice will be weaker and blend more easily.
  • Chill the frozen drink glasses. Pouring frozen margarita into a room-temp glass will create that "ice chunk in water" effect just as you say. Understand that unless you're serving these outside on your patio in February, there's not much you can do to avoid this effect happening to some degree as the drink warms, but you can minimize it.
  • Don't be afraid to play with the proportions of ice and mix in the blender. You're probably using too little, a common mistake as you don't want to weaken the drink. If it's blending up too sloshy, add a few more ice cubes and keep blending. If it's coming out like a snow cone, add more mix.

Just add more ice. I was a bartender for years.

Don't use guar gum.

If it's too soupy then add more ice a few cubes at a time. I use blenders and have never used a margaritaVille mixer so that might be the issue.

  • If you take a pint glass and fill it heaping with ice put it in the blender.
  • Then add 2 ounces of tequila and 1 Oz of triple sec, or cointreau,or razzmatazz or any other flavored you want.
  • Then you can add no more than 2.5 ounces of liquid (margarita mix) to that.
  • If you are working with purees than you can use 2 ounces of like strawberry puree with a half an ounce of margarita mix.

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