As we turn toward the warmer months of summer, I like to incorporate fresh produce into my cocktails whenever I can.
A margarita when made properly is a refreshing glass of mouth-puckering tartness with an earthy, agave finish and a well-balanced sweetness. It’s perfect in its original form, but I’m not afraid to mess with perfection and you shouldn’t be either.
I adjusted those classic flavors with the addition of cucumbers to make a refreshing frozen margarita that’s easy to make and serves up to six.
The cucumbers give the drink a cool green hue, and the crisp, slightly sweet vegetable adds complexity to the drink. Frozen Cucumber Margaritas are vibrant and cooling on a hot day, they make the perfect pitcher cocktail, and I’m serving them up all summer long.
What's in a Cucumber Margarita?
A frozen cucumber margarita builds off the classic margarita recipe—tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and simple syrup (or agave). This recipe has an addition of frozen, yes, frozen, cucumbers.
I also find that a touch of spice, whether it’s on the rim of the cocktail glass or in the glass itself (or in both places, if you’re me!), is a perfect complement to the cool, crisp cucumbers. Tajín, a seasoning made from chile peppers, lime, and sea salt is added to the rim of the glass giving your cocktail just a mild hint of spice.
If you want to turn up the heat and make a spicy cucumber margarita you can throw in half a jalapeño while you’re blending the drink to really kick it up a notch. If spice isn’t your thing you can also rim your glasses with kosher salt (and forget all about the jalapeno and the Tajín).
How to Achieve the Perfect Frozen Cucumber Margarita
Believe it or not there is more to making a good frozen margarita than just dumping everything in a blender and calling it a day. Pay attention to a few details and you will have a refreshing drink that’s not watered down with ice.
- Start the day before you plan to have friends over.
- I prefer Persian cucumbers, as the whole cucumber can go into the blender. However, if these aren’t available near you, a standard cucumber will also work. Peel most of the peel (it tends to be bitter) and scoop out the seeds first.
- Freeze as much as you can before making the drinks, including the cucumbers.
- Make the drink base and chill it overnight.
- If everything is super cold when blended, then you will need less ice meaning your drink will stay refreshing rather than watered down.
- Not everyone is a planner, I get it. If you didn’t start the night before I would suggest premixing the liquids and slicing the cucumbers and sticking them in the freezer for an hour or two before blending just to help them cool down.
- Small ice is the best kind. Bullet ice is great if you have it, or even regular freezer ice, but do not use your large chunks of special ice for cocktails. They can jam up your blender, and never seem to break down enough for frozen drinks. If you’re looking for a new blender to buy so you can enjoy an array of Summer cocktails, here are a few brands we love.
Glassware for Frozen Margaritas
There’s no need to run out and buy specialty margarita glasses for this cocktail.
In fact, my favorite all-purpose glass—the double rocks glass—has enough room for a generously portioned frozen drink and fits neatly in my dishwasher. However, if you feel like it’s only a margarita when drinking from a margarita glass then who am I to stop you!
When it comes to garnishes it’s nice when they allude to the kind of beverage you’re drinking. So for a cucumber margarita a cucumber ribbon, spear or round is a not-so-subtle hint as to what’s in your drink.
A garnished rim is also a fun extra, but optional. Like your margaritas with a salted rim? That still works here too! But as I mentioned above, a slightly spicy touch of Tajín on the rim works wonders.
Best Brand of Alcohol
My go-to tequila for most margarita recipes is Cazadores Blanco. You can find it just about anywhere you typically buy alcohol and costs only around $20.
Don’t bother with a more expensive tequila, reposado or añejo, as all the wonderful nuances in the tequila are going to get washed out here. Save those for sippers.
If you need more information on the best tequilas to buy and need a deeper dive into the differences between tequila añejo or blanco, we have the perfect guide for you.
Orange liqueur is a broad term here. Anything in the realm of triple sec or orange curaçao will work for a margarita.
You’re looking for a sweet orange flavor, but be mindful of the alcohol by volume, as some products will have a much higher percentage than others and can drastically change how—erm—potent the drink is.
More Magnificent Margarita Recipes
- Classic Margarita
- Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas
- Pineapple Jalapeño Pitcher Margaritas
- Blueberry Pitcher Margaritas
Frozen Cucumber Margaritas
I recommend premixing the liquid and freezing the cucumbers the night before you want to serve this cocktail. However, if you’re not a planner, just try to freeze it at least a couple of hours before you want to serve the drinks.
- For the margaritas
- 1 heaping cup cucumbers, preferably 2-3 Persian or 1 seedless English cucumber, sliced
- 8 ounces tequila blanco
- 3 ounces agave syrup
- 2 ounces orange liqueur
- 4 ounces lime juice (from about 4 limes), freshly squeezed
- 3 cups ice
- To garnish
- Tajín or kosher salt, to rim glasses
- Cucumber spears and lime wheels
Freeze cucumbers on cookie sheet:
The night before (or a few hours before making the margaritas), place your sliced cucumbers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze.
Freeze cocktail ingredients:
Combine tequila blanco, agave, orange liqueur, and lime juice in a gallon-sized zip top bag or freezer safe container, and place in freezer overnight or a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
When ready to make margaritas, combine chilled liquid ingredients (they will be a slush-like consistency at this point), frozen cucumber slices, and 3 cups of ice into a blender or food processor. Blend at high speed until smooth. If needed, add more ice if you want a thicker frozen drink.
Rim the cocktail glass:
To rim the glasses, use a lime wheel to wet the outside edge of your glass (not the inside as the ingredients on the rim are more likely to fall back into your drink if you also wet the inside of the glass).
Pour Tajín or kosher salt into a shallow bowl that will accommodate the glass and gently press the glass at a slight angle to coat the rim, moving the glass around until partially or completely covered, whichever you prefer.
Repeat with additional glasses.
Pour and serve margaritas:
Pour blended cucumber margaritas into the glasses and garnish with a cucumber spear and lime wheel. Serve.