What’s in your Margarita?

In the last several years, the movement towards nutritional awareness has been gaining momentum.  We have reached a time when a significant portion of our population does not want to ingest artificial ingredients or sweeteners and even requires that their makeup and skin care products be “pure”.  In light of this transition, most people are still content to drink whatever is put in front of them.  And most of the time, bar patrons are kept in the dark, and honestly may still be far from caring, about what their cocktails actually contain.  Somehow, alcoholic beverages are slipping through the cracks of our “bad stuff” filters.

So who says that this stuff in cocktail mixes is bad, anyway?  If you only have the occasional mixed drink, isn’t that like having the occasional Oreo or Little Debbie snack?  Well, yes.  But if you are like the millions of consumers who want more real nutritional bang for their buck, you should be concerned about what’s in that drink. The problem with artificial ingredients is that they are by and large recognized as having little to no nutritional value, which means that by putting it in your body, you are not doing yourself any good.  And if you are ok with that, then drink up.  But if you’re not….

Most ready-made drink mixes are full of sugar, corn syrup, and other goodies, along with a handful of additives and colorings that do not belong in our food. With our expanding consciousness focusing more attention on nutrition and what real nutrition actually is, it seems that it is time for the bar to gets its fair share of scrutiny.  There’s nothing delicious about premade drink mixes so learning to mix basic cocktails using fresh ingredients is not only delicious, it can also be cheap, creative, and fun.

Check out the ingredient list of a few popular drink mixes:

1) Pat O’Brien’s World Famous Hurricane Cocktail Mix: Sugar, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Fruit & Vegetable Oils (Contains Soy), Tri-Calcium Phosphate and U.S. Certified Colors (Including F.D. & C. Red #40, Yellow #5 and Blue #1).

2) Stirrings Margarita Mix:Triple-filtered water, key lime juice from concentrate (water, key lime juice concentrate), cane sugar, natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), pectin, natural triple sec flavor.

3) Island Oasis Ice Cream Flavor Base: 15% milk fat, cream, milk sugar, condensed skim milk, corn syrup, buttermilk powder, vanilla extract, carob bean gum, guar gum, lecithin & carrageenan.

4)Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix: water, corn syrup, sugar, citric acid (GRAS), natural flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to preserve flavor), cellulose gum, polysorbate 60, gum arabic, glycerol abietate and FD&C yellow no. 5.

Part of my goal here is to educate myself in what is considered “safe to consume” by the FDA (“Generally Recognized As Safe”) so I will be picking apart these ingredient lists in the weeks to come and providing some resources on where to get more information.