Review: Jose Cuervo Low-Cal Margarita/No-Cal Margarita Mixes

Review: Jose Cuervo Low-Cal Margarita/No-Cal Margarita Mixes

Pre-bottled margarita mix is certainly one of the biggest scams perpetrated on the American public since the Flowbee. Really, people, how hard is squeezing out some lime juice and adding a little sweetener, if you’re so inclined?

And yet the just-add-tequila margarita mix remains and, judging by the vast amount of shelf space these mixes command, it remains a top seller.

Now Cuervo is taking things to an extreme: Ripping the calories out of margarita mix with a no-calorie mix and, if you’re too lazy to dump in your own tequila, by offering a sub-100-calorie pre-mixed “Light Margarita” as well.

It’s not our usual bailiwick, but we took a stab at tasting them both.

Jose Cuervo “Zero Calorie” Margarita Mix isn’t terribly surprising: It’s simply a blend of artificial sweetener and some kind of lime essence (sans calories). The flavor is a bit like a diet Sprite that’s gone flat, which could be worse, and if you’re on an extreme diet, well, you probably shouldn’t be drinking margaritas but, if you can’t stop yourself, then I guess this will do in a pinch. Adding tequila (even 100% agave good stuff) actually doesn’t help things at all: It gives the mix a bitter edge and brings out its artificial character. Bottom line: If you want to save calories, skip the mix altogether and just add lime juice the way you’re supposed to. C- / $7 per 1.75-liter bottle

Jose Cuervo Authentic Light Margarita (pictured) – I’m not sure how Cuervo can put the words “authentic” and “light” right next to each other, considering this product certainly has no actual lime juice and is flavored with the same artificial sweetener as the “zero calorie” mix above. This one works better, probably because there is so little alcohol in it. (Cuervo claims it is composed of Cuervo Gold, triple sec, and “a twist of lime.”) And yet somehow this ends up at just 9.95% alcohol. It’s not awful, with real tequila bite, better and more authentic-tasting citrus character, and only a mildly cloying finish. If you need something for a tailgate party in a plastic bottle and there’s a diabetic in the crowd, well, I suppose it will do.* C+ / $15 per 1.75-liter bottle

* Drinkhacker does not offer medical advice and has no idea if this stuff is diabetic-friendly.

Jose Cuervo Authentic Light Margarita




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. DrinkGal on July 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

    How does it compare to Skinny Girl Margarita?

  2. Sota327 on July 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    If you like the regular Quervo mix, but want a ZERO calorie substitute, the Querov zero cal mix is a good choice. Prior to Quervo coming out with its own Zero Cal mix, I was using Baja Bob’s Iwith some fresh lime juice) for years. That did the trick and saved 200 calories per margarita and was good enough for me. The Quervo Zero Cal is much better than Baja Bob’s. Just my opinion. I’ve never tried the Skinny Girl.

  3. Bill on October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Okay, Here’s my recipe. Not as good as the original bu still close.

    2 oz. Jose Cuervo Especial
    4 oz. Jose Cuervo Lignt (0 calorie) Margarita mix
    2-3 tsp. Splenda

    Mix and enjot!

  4. Bill on October 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Okay, let’s try this again. Here’s my recipe. It’s not as good as the original but still close.

    2 oz. Jose Cuervo Especial
    4 oz. Jose Cuervo Lignt (0 calorie) Margarita mix
    2-3 tsp. Splenda depending on your personal taste

    Mix and enjoy!

  5. Pat Frerkes on May 31, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I tried the Jose Curervo light margarita mix for the first time with my family. I did add about 5 small fresh limes for every 4 drinks. Everyone loved them and kept asking for more,

  6. Cinthia white on July 22, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    How long will Authentic Jose Cuervo® Light Margaritas keep in the refrigerator after opening?

  7. Anonymous on April 16, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Try a floater of Grand Mariner on top…yum!

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