Margaritas grace your tastebuds with a sweet, salty, and citric mix of flavors. They are a cocktail classic enjoyed in many ways but involved in one of the most pressing cocktail debates: frozen versus on the rocks. For each cocktail, the answer differs, but which is better for margaritas?
Water—in any of its forms—causes dilution of alcohol, syrups, and other mixers in a drink.
It’s harder to gauge alcohol dilution in margaritas on the rocks due to ice cube variation. Larger ice cubes take longer to melt, providing a slower dilution process. On the other hand, frozen margaritas provide a more consistent dilution process, since blended or shaved ice is more consistent in size. Surrounding temperatures also affect the pace at which the ice melts and dilutes the cocktail over time.
Furthermore, for both cocktail serving methods, how you make the drink also affects alcohol dilution. For on-the-rocks margaritas, more ice cubes mean greater water content, unless you amp up the tequila as well. And for frozen margaritas, using a blender over an ice-shaving machine increases the chances of inconsistent ice texture and dilution.
Enjoying a drink on the rocks differs from the experience of drinking a frozen one. The latter provides more texture and looks fancier. It makes you feel like you’re enjoying a grown-up slushie on vacation. Frozen drinks are the epitome of tropical getaways, making them a symbol of relaxation.
However, margaritas on the rocks look and feel more sophisticated. The lingo sounds formal, making you feel like you are part of the upper class and an alum of Victorian etiquette school. On-the-rocks drinks also go down more smoothly than their frozen alternative and look classier with their old-fashioned short tumbler glasses.
Frozen and on-the-rocks drinks also differ in the creation process. Premade margarita mixes speed up the process for both variations, but on-the-rocks margaritas are generally quicker to prepare. Otherwise, unless you have a frozen margarita machine, using a blender increases preparation time. That’s why we recommend having a frozen margarita machine for commercial settings, as it allows you to effortlessly prepare large batches, saving time and reducing labor.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding whether frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas are better. Your drinking experience preferences and bartending technique—from ratio accuracy to mixing methods—decide which of the two margarita styles best suits your needs. Both versions allow you to enjoy the diverse and rich flavors of the cocktail, so the best option is what will best satisfy your customers and streamline your bar’s processes.