Mojitos, Margaritas, And Cosmos: Pre-Mixed Cocktails Can’t Beat Our Drink Recipes

Here’s one of Goldie’s golden rules: Pre-made food and beverage may be convenient, but you’ll pay dearly for that luxury. Recently I noticed that the premixed cocktail sections of liquor stores had grown—and I scratched my head in wonderment. These products are expensive and “cheap” at the same time. Big bucks plus inferior quality equals a raw deal.

Read on to put these products into perspective, and for recipes to make dynamite drinks yourself.

Margarita Madness

I scoped out the current hot brands in pre-made margos. A 750ml bottle of one trendy brand came in at $13.99. Open this skinny bottle and pour over ice to create four drinks at $3.50/glass. Conversely, if you buy the same sized bottle of entry level blue agave tequila for $22 (and you do want the agave…), you can shake up 12 good sized, delicious margaritas. What’s more, you’ve avoided the brand product’s inferior booze and artificial ingredients. Add fresh lime, and your drink turns into a celebration.

Cost: $2.45 per cocktail.

If You Like Piña Coladas…

A bathtub-sized 1.75L bottle of pre-made piña coladas seems well priced at $17.99 and will feed 7 friends. But a bottle of Denizen rum from Trinidad and Tobago costs $17 and will yield 17 drinks. The other two ingredients are pineapple juice and cream of coconut (not artificial flavorings and non dairy creamer), which will bring your individual drink cost to just over $1.30. If you have leftover cream of coconut, remember not to store it in the original can. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate.

Cost: $1.30 per cocktail.

Minty Mojitos

Nothing is more refreshing than a mojito. I love the smell of the mint as I “muddle” it with simple syrup. After all, 80% of taste is smell…but you don’t get this sensation when you open a package and pour liquid over ice. A 750ml bottling of premade mojitos costs $16.99 and serves four. Your homemade version will be far superior, and cost $1.90 per drink if you take advantage of fresh mint—not the prepackaged stuff that costs almost as much as the rum. Pick up a bunch at your local farmers market during the summer and drink cheap! Just remember to keep hydrated.

Cost: $1.90 per cocktail.

Let’s Do Cosmos!

The cosmopolitan was around long before Sex And The City re-popularized it, and the original is still the best. The key to saving here is to invest in a 1.75L of vodka. After all, it doesn’t go bad. If you chill the premade cocktail and pour it into a chilled martini glass, you will be investing $2.40 per stem. Mix the cosmos yourself, hearing the ice crackle as you shake your concoction, and your creativity will save you $1.40 per drink!

Cost: $2.40 per cocktail.

See our slideshow for my favorite cocktail recipes.

View Slide Show

Tell us in the comments: Pre-mixed cocktails: for or against?

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  • Anonymous

    Weekend is almost here! Thanks, Deborah, this piece is timed perfectly. Readers, do you have any favorite drink mixes to share? nCheers,nCaroline WaxlernLearnVest’s Chief Content and Community Officer

  • Anonymous

    These are nice but I’d much rather have a story on fall drinks. Right now I’m thinking about mulled wines and dark alcohol, not lighter beverages. Can you guys please do a story on cold weather drinks. (This was great but makes me sad for summer!)n

    • DG

      Pollynanna,rnrnGreat idea! I’ll run it by my editor and start scribbling and sampling some concoction ideas –as recipe testing IS the best part of writing these posts!

  • Anonymous

    Goldie you are so right about making it yourself. I make my own pina coladas mix but I put in a ton fresh pineapple chunks. I did it last week for my college girlfriends reunion and everyone loved it. The problem though is that it goes bad a little sooner than me or my hubby would have liked!

  • Susanj

    Mulled wine would be perfect right about now..