Summer Cocktail Faceoff: Margarita vs. Frosé

BY: Shannon Grilli | Jun 27, 2018

The margarita has long been the king of summer cocktails. Sure, an ice-cold beer or pitcher of sangria sometimes hits the spot, but the reappearance of everyone's favorite salt-rimmed frozen drink marks the unofficial opening of summer cocktail season every Cinco de Mayo.

Lately, though, another frozen drink has been making a millennial-pink hued splash on restaurant menus across the country. We're talking, of course, about frosé.

Frosé, aka frozen rose, is having a major moment—at least if our foodie friends' Instagram feeds are any indication. But will it dethrone the margarita as the official cocktail of summer, or is its newfound popularity as fleeting as say, the cronut or unicorn toast?

With 4th of July right around the corner (and your barbecue drink menu hanging in the balance), we decided to pit these two summer cocktails against one another in a good old-fashioned drink throw down. Which one will you be sipping this summer?

The Defending Champ: Margarita

Pros:

  • Refreshing blend of sweet and salty flavors, thanks to its traditional salted rim
  • Can be served blended (frozen) or on the rocks, making it easy to enjoy a margarita, even if you don't have a blender handy.
  • Easy to make. The classic margarita recipe (see below) needs only three ingredients. If you have a somewhat respectable home bar, you probably already have them on hand.
  • Low(ish) in calories. Not surprisingly, "margarita calories" is a pretty big google search term. Luckily, the average marg only runs you about 153 calories, which, for a sweet cocktail, isn't terrible.
  • Readily available. You can order a margarita at almost any bar, and, during the summer, many watering holes even offer happy hour specials on them.
  • Tons of flavor variations. Strawberry? Mango? Blue raspberry? There are almost as many margarita variations as there are fruit flavors, so you can sip them all summer long without getting bored.

Cons:

  • They pack a wallop. Sure, you could put this bullet in the "pro" pile if your goal is to get as tipsy as possible in a short amount of time. But if your goal is to have a casual day drinking on the patio, you might want to pencil in a nap after your second margarita.
  • Two words: sour mix. Few things are better than a homemade margarita, but few things make sadder than a margarita made from a prepackaged mix. And, unfortunately, many of them are.
  • Plastic cups. A good drink should be served in nice drink ware, so it's a real bummer that so many margaritas come in cheap plastic cups. And if the cup is plastic, what are the chances that your margarita contains top-shelf tequila? Yeah, hard pass.

Classic Margarita Recipe:

1.5 oz tequila

1.5 oz. triple sec

Juice from 1/2 lime

Run a slice of lime across the lip of a cocktail glass and dip into salt. Fill glass with ice. Pour tequila, triple sec, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into salt-rimmed glass and enjoy!

The Challenger: Frosé

Pros:

  • It's rosé, in slushie form. The only con here is that no one thought of this sooner.
  • No ice needed. Because the margarita has to be blended (or mixed with ice), you could wind up with a diluted drink after a while. But frosé is just wine that's frozen and blended with other ingredients, so your last sip is just a potent as the first.
  • It's beautiful. There's a reason you're seeing photos of frosé blowing up your social media feeds... it's just really, really nice to look at. As an added bonus, it's almost always served in a really eye-catching champagne or coupe class, which makes us feel extra fancy while sipping it.
  • Novelty. Yes, in a world where classic cocktails have been the focus of an entire decade, frosé gets points just for being new. We've already had every variation of the margarita ever invented, but it's going to be at least another season or so before the novelty of this pink drink wears off.

Cons:

  • It's a time commitment. True, frosé won't get watered down by ice, but that also means you can't whip one up whenever the mood strikes you. You're going to need to set aside at least a half a day for the wine to freeze before you can get down to sipping. Huge deduction in points here.
  • It's gotta be frozen or bust. Frosé, but its very definition is a frozen, blended drink and no on-the-rocks option exists to satisfy your craving sooner. For good reason, obviously: ice cubes floating in wine just feel wrong. And, honestly, sometimes we're just too lazy to drag out the blender.
  • Calories. Don't be fooled by the frosé pale pink color into thinking it's somehow better for you than any other cocktail. In fact, the average serving of rose packs about 200 calories, or almost 25% more calories than a standard margarita.
  • Freezing isn't really the best way to treat wine. Unlike spirits, which can be frozen without ruining their flavor profile, wine is really best enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled, and freezing disrupts its flavor profile. That doesn't mean a glass of frosé can't taste great—it just means you won't really be enjoying the wine to it's full potential. Plus, there's a good chance your wine snob friends will line up to lecture you on this fact every time you try to enjoy a glass. And really, who needs that?

Basic Frosé Recipe:

1 bottle of rosé wine

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

1 c. strawberries

Juice from 1 lemon

Pour entire bottle or rosé into a pan or freezer bag. Freeze until almost solid (about 6 hours). In the meantime, mix sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add strawberries and remove from heat. After 30-45 minutes, strain syrup to remove strawberries and set aside. Once rosé has finished freezing, combine rosé, lemon juice, and your desired amount of syrup (depending on how sweet you want your drink), into blender and mix until you reach a slushie-like consistency. Pour into cocktail glasses and add more strawberry syrup, if desired.

Winner: Margarita

Listen, frosé, we like you. We really do. And we're looking forward to spending more time with you this summer. But when it comes to simplicity and versatility, the margarita has you beat and will still be the king of summer cocktails long after this whole wine slushie trend has run its course. Sorry! (We'd still like to take a selfie with you though.)