Flavored Ice Cubes Are Key To Deliciously Complex Frozen Margaritas

If there were a hierarchy of refreshing beverages, frozen margaritas would certainly be near the top. A slushy sip from that salty rim is pure perfection on a hot day, but when the temperatures rise, a frozen margarita quickly melts and loses some of its allure. This is because it is ice — not tequila, lime juice, triple sec, a simple syrup substitute, or any other ingredient — that really defines this drink. It makes sense, then, that the key to making the best frozen margarita is to add flavor to the ice.

It may seem strange or even boring to spend time contemplating cold, hard, colorless, flavorless ice cubes, but it all comes down to thinking of them as blank canvases for creative bartenders. Water is not the only liquid that can be frozen into a solid and, in fact, ice makes a great base for building more complex flavors into cocktails — especially frozen margaritas.

Ice cube inspiration

Because ice makes up so much of what goes into a frozen margarita, it can profoundly impact the overall taste of the drink. Since the cubes get put into a blender, their size and shape do not matter as much as in other cocktails. Instead, when making frozen margaritas at home, you'll want to get crafty with what you're using to fill your ice cube trays. If you're in need of some inspiration, consider the beverages you like to drink on a daily basis, like coffee, tea, and juice.

Keep in mind that different liquids have different freezing points. Liquids with a high water content — such as tea and some fruit juices — freeze well, but high-proof alcohol will not. For an extra citrusy drink, you can experiment with freezing limeade or lemonade. If you're looking for something a little more sophisticated, try swapping in your favorite tea in place of regular ice cubes.

Making extra flavorful frozen margaritas

Since frozen margaritas depend on ice, it is important that you do some preparation well in advance of when you want to be drinking your cocktail. Ideally, you'll make your flavored ice cubes a day or two ahead of time. If you're opting to infuse your ice with tea, leave plenty of time for it to cool after steeping the leaves. The taste of tea can be intense, so you only need one serving of tea leaves for every 32 ounces of water. Mint tea is an especially delicious addition to frozen margaritas, but the black tea leaves and bergamot in Earl Grey can add interesting earthy and citrusy notes.

Once your flavored ice cubes are fully frozen, gather the ingredients for your frozen margarita of choice, be it blood orange, spicy pineapple, or something more traditional. Then, throw everything in a blender. Mix until smooth and serve swiftly in salt-rimmed glasses to appreciate the complexity of the flavors captured in your glass.