Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Trader Joe's Mango Margarita Mixer

After slowly weaning myself off mango over the past month or so, I fell right off the wagon after spotting this exotic margarita mix at the local TJ's. Sonia and I weren't able to make a Princeton run (the closest Trader Joe's store that sells alcohol) for TJ's brand booze, so we made due with an off brand, and we whipped up a batch of blended margaritas to help beat this summer heat and humidity.

Unlike quite a few of the offerings we saw earlier this summer, this is a product that actually should be mango-flavored. It's a sweet, candy mango taste that blends well with tequila. Margaritas are a uniquely-summery beverage, and they lend themselves to uniquely-summery flavors like mango. To me, it seems much fruitier and juicier than its lemon-lime predecessor. Of course, both flavors are good, but in a way, I think this one works even better. Who knows? This product may actually pre-date the recent onslaught of mango insanity at Trader Joe's. Somehow it just doesn't seem as forced as products like mango sandwich cookies and mango chia pudding.

Also like the previously-reviewed traditional flavor, this margarita mixer uses simple, natural ingredients. If there's anyone else out there who enjoys margaritas and also tries to avoid high fructose corn syrup, I'm sure you've discovered that it's virtually impossible to find margarita mixer at a normal grocery store that uses actual sugar in its ingredients—and in the rare case you do find it, it costs an arm and a leg. This stuff is only $2.69.

By itself, the mixer is very thick and way too sweet. It needs to be diluted significantly. I think four ice cubes and one shot of tequila per two ounces mixer works best, but it's also decent as the base for virgin cocktails with only water/ice and maybe a lime wedge, as suggested on the label—so, yes, the kids can enjoy this one, too.

Mangoritas taste like summer. Double fours.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

8 comments:

  1. This was sold out by late June in my local Trader Joe's! I managed to buy three bottles but that was it. Sigh. But you can make a decent mango margarita with their small cans of pure mango juice and fresh squeezed lime...and it's not as sweet as the mix.

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  2. Oh my gosh I thought that the mangofest had previously ended

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  3. Hi Nathan and Sonia,

    I recently found your blog and podcast and love it as my wife and I are also TJ fanatics (although we also split our grocery shopping between TJ and Whole Foods - ever notice how many of them are within a mile or two of each other?). I did want to just say hi and was curious if you tried pairing this mango mix with any other spirits? I'm thinking it might work well with vodka. I don't really drink Tequila anymore (bad experiences!).

    Keep up the good work!!

    Chris

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    1. Hi Chris. Thanks for reading, listening, and commenting! We rarely buy hard liquor. Tequila for margaritas is the exception to the rule for us. So no, we've never tried this mixer with anything else. But vodka is pretty neutral, so I think there's a good chance it would work.

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  4. Unlike Nathan ^ I often buy hard liquor! ;) And here's a little spicy twist that's great with this mix. I recently tried making an infused tequila at home, following the lead of one of my fave bars in the west village here. It's pretty easy: pick up a bottle of good tequila (I suggest a reposado for that intermediate mellowness-plus-sweetness, but a white/blanco/silver will work too.) Do a couple of shots from the bottle to make the process go smoother. (OK, and to make a little extra room in the bottle!) Then rinse and slice up 3-4 fresh jalapeno peppers from TJs, about 1/4 inch thick. Put the slices into the bottle, seeds and all, leaving the stems behind. Cap and shake, and give it a shake a couple of times a day (or more). It should be ready in 3-4 days. This jalapeno tequila has quite a bite to it (a warm, lingering heat) and when added to this mango mixer, reminds me of a long-discontinued TJ fave of mine, the frozen mango chili pops. (I'm thinking the chili-lime-salt seasoning may e good on the rim of the glass for this drink!)

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    1. Jalapeno tequila with mango mixer and chili lime salt?? :-O

      I just might have to try that!

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