The margarita – a killer combination of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice – is the best of Texas in a glass. And as a Texan and cocktail enthusiast, I take margaritas very seriously. When making them for parties (or just for myself with homemade tortilla soup), I use fresh limes, the best quality alcohol I can afford, and classic margarita proportions (1.5 oz tequila, 1.0 oz triple sec, 0.5 oz lime juice). For booze, I am presently enjoying Hornitos Resposado – it’s spicy, sweet, and affordable. And instead of cheap triple sec, I prefer Paula’s Texas Orange Premium Liqueur. All this creates a lovely sweet and sour combination with no yucky cheap booze or sour mix aftertaste.

I was originally weary of creating a margarita gelatin mold – cocktail-based gelatin molds are a tricky (and expensive) ordeal! I typically experiment with two or three recipes before creating one worth eating. Shockingly, this mold turned out great after just one trial. (I believe the key to cocktail-based gelatin molds is decent quality alcohol – use poor quality booze, and the gelatin mold will taste like a sweet, sticky, cheap boozy mess.) Along with “Top Shelf” booze, the strawberries provided visual interest and sweet fruity tastiness. Honestly, my friends and I were surprised how good this turned out!  Given it’s versatility, I plan on several more margarita-inspired gelatin molds in the future.

Recipe for 3.5 Cups

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming)
  • 2 cups water (for syrup)
  • ¾ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup lime juice (approx. 1 or 2 limes) with zest reserved
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup triple sec
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (or other fruit of your choice – except fresh mangos, see Gelatin Tips and Tricks)

Put ½ cup of cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water.  Set bowl aside.

Put rest of water, sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lime zest. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lime syrup and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in tequila and triple sec.

Put mixture in refrigerator (or freezer) until thickened to a soft gel consistency. It should be easy to stir but thick enough to hold the strawberries. Stir in strawberries and spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.