Does Margarita Mix Go Bad? (Storage & Freezing Tips)

Margarita Mix is a useful recipe used to make the always popular cocktail, the Margarita. The mix is made of lime juice, sugar, salt, and traditionally Contreau, which is a French orange liqueur.

This mix is useful due to the only additional ingredients needed when serving the cocktail is liquor and ice.

The prep and efficiency of the mix is what makes it so popular to prep. But you may ask, how long does this mix last?

Generally speaking, homemade margarita mix will last 7-10 days in the fridge, around 2 hours outside of the fridge, and up to 4 months in the freezer. Store-bought margarita mix will last after opening for around 6 months in the fridge and 9 months in the freezer, while unopened mix can last up to a year in the fridge, freezer or on the shelf. 

Freezing Margarita Mix And Its Benefits

Homemade margarita mix with alcohol can be frozen and will actually prove to be quite useful when stored in the freezer.

Due to the alcoholic content of some mixes, the product will retain a slushy-like quality when frozen.

This allows for easy serving and optimal temperature when creating margaritas from the slushy mix. Non-alcoholic mix can be frozen but will become a solid, frozen icicle of product.

Store-bought mix can also be frozen, but should not be frozen unopened. When water freezes it expands and this will cause the product in the bottle to expand and potentially damage the bottle.

It is best to store the mix in a different container if you do wish to keep in the freezer. 

The Advantages of Homemade Margarita Mix

As in many recipes in the food world, making your own homemade product is always preferred from a taste and self-reliance perspective.

Lime Margarita

The simplicity of the margarita mix is what makes it so accessible to modification if you so choose.

Your ability to create and experiment with flavor cannot be found in pre-made mix.

Additionally, a homemade mix will avoid the heavy sugar dependence found in most store-bought mixes, offering more in depth flavors to be brought out of drinking the margarita.

The Advantages of Store-Bought Margarita Mix

Store-bought margarita mix offers you the convenience of the mix being made. All you need to do is unscrew the cap, pick your favorite alcohol, add a little ice and mix.

Buying from a store also offers you the bottle itself to store in and requires no clean-up when making the mix. 

They also are far more shelf-stable than homemade, with an unopened bottle able to last up to a year or more. (Always check expiration dates on packaging.)

Products unopened will last over a year, while opened will last up to 6 months in the fridge and 9 months in the freezer. They should not be consumed after the expiration date on packaging.

Making The Choice On Making Or Buying Margarita Mix

It comes down to your preference in choosing a margarita mix. Homemade allows you to tailor your taste and deliver more nuance to the drink. The store-bought version of the mix offers convenience, extended shelf life and ideal packaging. 

Homemade Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic Margarita Mix Shelf Life

Typically both mixes will last for 7-10 days in the fridge after being made, and should not sit out past two hours at room temp.

The difference is in storing in the freezer. Both mixes should last up to four months frozen, but without alcohol the mix will freeze solid. This may prove difficult to use once it is needed due to the need to be thawed. 

The mix with alcohol on the other hand will remain slushy due to the alcohol content within it.

For storage preferences on mixes I would freeze the alcoholic mix if you would like, but avoid the non-alcoholic mix. The flavor will be better made fresh and the hassle of dealing with a solid block of juice and sugar will be avoided. 

Below is a chart on various shelf life periods for margarita mix

Margarita MixRoom TempFridgeFreezer
Homemade 2 Hours7-10 DaysUp to 4 Months
Store-Bought (Unopened)1+ Year1+ YearNot Recommended
Store-Bought (Opened)2 Hours6 MonthsUp to 9 Months

The Risk of Leaving Margarita Mix Out Too Long

With any prepared food, the golden rule to food safety is the “2 hour” rule. It is best practice to not leave a prepared food item out for longer than 2 hours in order to avoid bacteria build up.

Whether it is freshly made or store-bought, margarita mix should not be left out when opened longer than 2 hours.

Doing so could lead to the mix spoiling and the product causing the consumer to become sick. 

How To Tell If Margarita Mix Is Bad

You can tell margarita mix is bad by a foul odor or taste in the product. You can also tell if it looks discolored, is growing mold or has been stored improperly. If you suspect the mix is off in odor, color or has not been stored correctly then discard it. 

Expired/Old Margarita Mix And Why You Shouldn’t Drink It

Best practice dictates that you should always follow the expiration date on a product you buy.

Similarly to when you make a product, adhering to a food safety schedule is key. But what exactly happens if you drink expired mix? 

The risk is ultimately very low in the product going bad right after expiration, although not advised, due to high sugar content and alcohol if added.

The main reason though is the flavor, color and overall experience with the mix will be poor.

This will lead to a drink with diluted taste, flat colors and really is a waste of alcohol and your time. This will not compare to a fresher mix and is not recommended for drinking enjoyment.

Fresh Homemade Margarita with Lime

Storing Homemade Margarita Mix 

As we covered, any mix should be refrigerated after 2 hours at room temp. To store mix in the fridge you will want to find a container with a tight fitting lid.

Leaving it uncovered in the fridge can lead to spillage and can also lead to the product developing flavors and aromas from other foods in your fridge. 

In order to freeze homemade mix you have a couple of options. You could traditionally store them in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container.

Another option is to portion out and freeze the mix so that you only take out the predetermined amount when mixing drinks. This can be done in little containers, freezer bags or even ice cube trays!

Storing Store-Bought Margarita Mix

Unopened mix should be stored in a cool and dark place. Direct contact to sunlight can ruin color and drastic changes in temperature could ruin the product.

Storage in the fridge is also possible, but freezing an unopened bottle of mix is not recommended due to the possibility of the bottle bursting when the liquid expands. 

Opened mix should not be left out for more than two hours. Storing the mix in the bottle while in the fridge will keep it protected from spilling and will last up to 6 months.

Portioning out the mix and freezing will last up to 9 months in the freezer. Always follow packaging details on best ways to store products once opened. 

Popular Store-Bought Margarita Mix Brands

Some popular brands that are made with alcohol include Margaritaville Ready Lime Ready to Drink, Tres agaves, Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita, Durango Ultimate Margarita and Chi Chi’s Margarita. 

Some popular brands that are made without alcohol include Kirkland Signature Margarita Mix, Jose Cuervo Classic Lime Margarita Mix (Non-Alcoholic) and Daily’s Cocktails Margarita Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Mix. 

All of these mixes have relatively the same shelf life unopened and opened.  The difference in storing comes when freezing, as the alcohol based mixers will not freeze solid.

Stick to the guides in this article, but most importantly the expiration date for when it will expire. 

Margarita Mix In Use

Recipe Example of How Measured Mix Can Be Used

4 oz Margarita Mix (Liquor included)

2 oz Tequila

Ice

Lime Wedge

  • Pour mix, tequila and ice into a shaker. Shake well!
  • Pour into a glass and garnish with lime

You can see how simple making the mix beforehand can be when serving the cocktail.

Making the mix in large batches, portioning out and storing properly leads to efficiency and ease when making these drinks at home. 

The Other Benefit Of Freezing Margarita Mix

The frozen margarita is one the most popular cocktails to drink in warm weather. If you do decide to freeze your mix for storage then you have created the opportunity to make this beverage!

Frozen pre-made mix will act as the ice you need to create your frozen margarita, leading to more flavor and a stronger drink. 

Getting smart on storage in the freezer can lead to the scenario of pulling out servings of mix, adding to the blender with the correct portion of alcohol and blending the product. All that is needed after is a quick pour into a chilled glass and a lime to garnish!

You can even buy frozen margarita mix. Most will not contain the alcohol mixer due to freezing issues so it is important to be aware of that.

These mixes are not as popular due to low quality in flavor and difficulty in use but can be stored up to one year in the freezer and offer that frozen mix in a convenient way. 

Margarita Mix: The Ultimate Argument To Cocktail Prep

Margaritas are a fan favorite cocktail, and for good reason. The tart, sweet and refreshing quality of a margarita is unmatched. But the mix can be a time consuming prep step in the moment of making the cocktail. 

Taking the time to make the mix beforehand, especially enough to cover multiple portions of the cocktail, will lead to endless amounts of time saved down the road when mixing for guests or yourself after a long day of work.

Much like meal prep, preparing your mix in large quantities only requires minimal action when the time comes to consume the beverage.

Margarita mix is great due to its convenience and its ability to be stored with relative ease. The shelf life of both homemade and store-bought means that it can be made well in advance of a party or gathering while maintaining its integrity.

Preparing margarita mix is time well spent in order to serve and enjoy margaritas in short time and with ease of production.

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