Color-Changing Slushy Margaritas. This recipe uses a secret ingredient to create color-changing blue ice. It’s also perfectly slushy with no blender required!
Neatly cut and quietly chew? Stop mixing everything around on my plate? Dinner isn’t time for science experiments? Stop plopping spoonfuls of my meal into my water cup? WELL MOM, LOOK AT ME NOW.
Allow me to present my crazy-colored rebellion against every person who has ever told me not to play with my food: Color-Changing Slushy Margaritas.
These multi-colored margaritas are the embodiment of everything I ever dreamed of as a child. They’re slushy! They’re bright! They make for one kick-ass magic trick that’ll impress all of your friends!
You know what? I probably literally could have made them as a child– they’re that easy. Well, except for the whole alcohol part– I didn’t have access to tequila as a child.
That’s perhaps the one joy of being a grown-up.
I’ve been making margaritas for parties ever since I became an adult, and I’ve learned a lot of things. Namely, that frozen margaritas are always the best kind, that freshly squeezed lime juice is kind of overrated (gasp!), and that the prettier you can make a margarita, the better it tastes.
And so a few months ago, I set out to figure out how to make the ultimate frozen margarita. My annual Cinco de Mayo / birthday party was coming up, and I’d hoped to have it nailed down by then. But that day came and went, and I still hadn’t gotten it right. Every time I blended a batch, I felt like they were good… but not quite perfect. So then I decided to take the blender out of the equation entirely.
Simply mixing together the margarita ingredients and freezing them works– in fact, it more than works— it results in the slushy consistency of your dreams. No fancy equipment required. The alcohol in the mixture will stop the liquids from freezing into a solid brick, so instead you will get a deliciously slurpable drink after scooping the margarita slush into glasses. And all you need to make the margarita mixture is limeade concentrate, water, tequila, and triple sec. That’s it.
But if you think that’s cool, just wait til you hear this:
With just one additional ingredient, you can make the margaritas magically change color. You already knew that though, right? That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?
The secret ingredient? Red cabbage. WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING? HOLD ON.
I know that sounds gross. Trust me, I get it– who wants to drink a cabbage margarita!? The thing is, you don’t put the actual cabbage in the drink. You add boiling water to a bowl of cabbage so that the water is dyed a beautiful blue color.
(By the way, my tap water turns very blue, but different neighborhoods have different water, and some peoples’ will wind up a little more on the purple side. Not to worry— if your water is purple, just add the teeniest, tiniest sprinkle of baking soda to the water. We are talking TINY here. You won’t taste it, but it will help the water turn blue.)
Then you freeze it in a separate container with a little tequila to keep it from freezing solid, just like the other mix.
AND NOW FOR THE COOLEST PART: When you combine that blue slushy ice on top of the normal margarita slushy, it triggers a chemical reaction. Red cabbage is a pH indicator, so it changes color based on how basic or acidic a mixture is. The citric acid from the limeade concentrate in the margarita mix causes the blue water to turn hot pink!
Tell me that that isn’t the coolest thing you’ve heard all day.
And you truly can’t taste the cabbage. when you mix the margarita all together. Everyone who tried this drink could NOT believe there was cabbage water in it. Even the people who watched me make it. Hell, I could barely believe it myself.
However, if the idea of the cabbage still freaks you out, then go with blue pea flowers instead, like my dear friend Dini the Flavor Bender does with her spiked galaxy lemonade cocktail (which was the inspiration for this drink)! Big ups to her for the idea.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play with some food.
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For the Color-Changing Ice:
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups tequila
For the Margarita Slushy:
- 1 (12 ounce) can limeade
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups tequila
- 1/2 cup triple sec
- In a large, heat-proof bowl, carefully pour 4 cups of boiling water over the cabbage. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the water is very saturated with blue or blueish purple color.
- Strain the mixture to remove the cabbage and pour the blue water into a large container such as a 13×9″ baking dish. Mix in 1 1/2 cups of tequila. Cover and freeze.
- In another container, combine the limeade, triple sec, 4 cups of water, and 1 1/2 cups of tequila. Cover and freeze until solid.
- Use a spoon or ice cream scooper to stir and break apart the ice to create a slushy consistency. Scoop the margarita mix into glasses just over 3/4 of the way full, then top with the blue slushy ice. Stir together for the color-changing effect and enjoy!