Summer is finally here–the grill is primed, patio umbrellas open and friends gather. Time to break out an ice-cold cocktail. One drink in particular that always reminds me of Summer is the sweet and tangy margarita–the perfect patio party drink. Well, almost perfect…
These days we whip up a healthy twist on the classic, better known as a Paleo Margarita.[This post contains affiliate links to make it easy to purchase items mentioned. Your pricing stays the same. See my full disclosure here.]
The Quest For a Perfect Paleo Margarita
A few Summers ago, my husband and I were transitioning our diet (from vegan to Paleo no less!), and we wanted some low-sugar, chemical-free cocktail options. Our biggest challenge was the drink mixer. Nearly all commercial drink mixers are loaded with sugar, unnecessary chemicals and preservatives. Just check out the labels next time you are at your grocery or liquor store and you will see what I mean.
One drink we quickly adopted going Paleo (more on our story here) was Kombucha. Kombu-what!? If you aren’t familiar with Kombucha, it’s one of the latest health trends where tea is fermented with sugar and the result is an effervescent, probiotic drink. Sounds slightly odd to most, but even my kids love it!
Kombucha is everywhere these days–local farmers markets, the grocery store, at restaurants and bars and even brewed at home. For now, we opt to buy pre-made and love GT’s Kombucha. Their flavors contain very low sugar and zero chemicals or food dyes.
In fact, we found that GT’s Citrus Kombucha makes the perfect Paleo Margarita! My husband first created his basic BuchaMarg (as we liked to call it) to include Citrus Kombucha, a squeeze of fresh lime and Tequila. Super simple and perfect for him, but not as flavorful as I prefer my Margaritas.
Making Margaritas with The Denver Bloggers Club
I’m usually all about “easy recipes.” However, last month I was inspired to bring our Paleo Margarita up a notch after a Denver Bloggers Club happy hour event. Our wonderful hosts were Jenny Finke (founder of the Denver Bloggers Club and Good For You Gluten Free) and Barb Kiebel of Creative Culinary. Barb is a master drink maker and features a new cocktail each week on her blog. Be sure to check it out!
Barb blew us away with some top-secret tips, not only about how to make an amazing Margarita, but how to take beautiful cocktail photography. Who knew that that the shape of your ice really matters!
Check out this photo below that I took in Barb’s studio. There was no fancy lighting and I just used my iPhone. Not too shabby for an amateur. I just loved her props!
Notice the use of various fresh fruit and even basil (not pictured). A big thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market who sponsored the blogger happy hour.
What could be better than fresh fruit in a Margarita? I’m so glad you asked…
Trick #1: Muddled Fruit and Herbs
The technique of muddling is where you take some liquid along with a handful fruit and/or herbs, then smash it all up in a tall cup or container using a special tool called a muddler. Then you strain the leftover infused liquid into the drink. I bought this muddler after the party and love it!
Oh my yum! The bright flavors of fresh fruit and zesty basil really shine through and brighten up a basic Margarita. We were having so much fun muddling during the happy hour event that I almost forgot what I threw in my original drink. I’m pretty sure basil, blueberries, strawberries, lime and blood orange made it into my concoction.
Thinking of skipping the muddling? Don’t! Trust me, it’s totally worth the extra step as it offers depth and a bright pop of flavors. Total game changer and it only takes a minute! Have fun with it and choose any fruit and herb combinations that sound appealing (basil and blueberries, strawberry and mint, orange and rosemary).
Trick #2: Salt+Sugar+Citrus Zest is Best!
Some Marg connoisseurs love a salted glass and others, well, they hate it. However, word on the street is that the haters will love the combination of unrefined sugar, sea salt, and citrus zest. Just sayin’.
Barb taught us how to rim the glass with not just salt, but a lively mix of sugar, salt and dried (or fresh) citrus zest. The sugar balances out the salt, and the zest adds another layer of flavor. Just be sure to skip the refined sugar which is chemically processed and bleached. Instead, you can use raw coconut sugar (like this or this) which is Paleo-friendly.
If you are short on time, simply mix the sea salt and unrefined sugar and skip the zest.
OK, time to make your own Kombucha Paleo Margarita! The recipe below is a perfect option if you are looking for a low-sugar, Paleo patio drink to sip away the Summer days. For Barb’s original Margarita recipe, click here.
A lovely, low-sugar, chemical-free Paleo Margarita perfect for Summer sipping.
- 16 oz GTS Citrus Kombucha
- 2 oz 100% Agave Tequila
- 2 Tbs blueberries
- 4 medium strawberries
- 1 lime, sliced into four wedges
- 4 medium size basil leaves, torn up into pieces
- 2 Tbs honey/water mixture
- Salt/sugar/zest mixture (optional)
- Prepare your glasses by rubbing the rim with a lime wedge. Roll that edge of the glass in course sea salt or the optional salt/sugar mix.
- Fill each glass with ice and 8 oz of Citrus Kombucha. Set aside.
- In a tall shaker, add berries, basil leaves, two lime slices, honey/water mixture and tequila. For the honey/water mixture (AKA Paleo simple syrup) just add 1 Tbs raw honey with 1 Tbs warm water so the honey dissolves.
- Next, using a muddler, gently smash the ingredients to infuse the liquid with the fresh fruit and herbs.
- Add a handful of ice to the shaker, then top shaker with the strainer lid and cap and shake, shake, shake.
- Remove cap, leaving the strainer lid with holes (or use a fine mesh strainer if using a plain glass) and pour half of the muddle juice/alcohol mixture over ice in each glass.
- Garnish with a slice of lime (or extra strawberry) and enjoy.
- Do NOT shake the kombucha as it is naturally bubbly and can explode
- Use any combination of fruits and herbs to mix things up.
- To purchase quality tequila, look for those that say “100% Agave.” This does not mean agave sugar, this means that it was processed from the agave plant and not processed with a bunch of chemicals and additives.
- The “simple syrup” honey mixture adds approximately 8 grams of sugar. It can be left out if you are looking to keep the sugar content very low, however you may need to add more lime juice and a splash of water to help muddle the fruit and herbs.
- 8oz of GTS Citrus Kombucha adds only 1 gram of sugar per drink. We love GTS Citrus (and Ginger) Kombucha because of it’s low sugar content. Other brands add sugar and flavorings so it’s important to read the labels so you know exactly what you are getting.
Once you have started muddling, the options are endless! It’s a great way to infuse fresh flavor into your favorite drinks. Be sure to try this Paleo cocktail with low sugar and no chemicals or additives, and let me know what you think. This Paleo Margarita made with Kombucha just might be your thing. Cheers!
What’s your favorite low-sugar or Paleo Cocktail?
Peace and Love,
Shop recommended products: