Mixing it Up
Mixing up the bar cart
When COVID hit in 2020, For the Love of Margaritas owner RACHEL JACOBS was a recent UNCW graduate and laid off from her bartending gig. She knew she needed a way to support herself but never thought a small side hustle would flourish into a budding business.
The Wilmington native unofficially launched For the Love of Margaritas, offering fresh-pressed drink mixers, during Cinco de Mayo in 2020, and she’s stayed busy ever since.
“All the sudden COVID hit, and just all of us, we were kind of swept off our feet. I was kind of worried and trying to figure out a way to support myself during that time, but I also wanted to bring a fresh cocktail to people,” Jacobs says.
Jacobs began crafting homemade mixers and selling them to friends and family. After posting her offerings on social media, Jacobs says interest around town escalated quickly.
“People were head over heels and so excited about this idea,” she says. “It got me excited about it, too. Before I knew it, I had people all over Wilmington reaching out asking, ‘How do I get my hands on this? I would really love to try your margaritas.’”
For the Love of Margaritas sells fresh, homemade juices in 16-ounce, 32-ounce, and gallon-size jars. A 16-ounce jar makes six to eight margaritas. Jacobs created five core flavors: Original, Skinny Paloma, Pomegranate Lime, Mango Habanero, and Pineapple Ginger. She also rotates in seasonal flavors.
Each mixer is made with a base of organic lime juice and light blue agave as well as other organic ingredients.
“I don’t add any sugars or preservatives; most of them are pretty low glycemic,” Jacobs says. “There aren’t extra carbs, and we offer some skinny options.”
While her initial idea was to add tequila, Jacobs says her mixers are versatile and pair well with other liquors as well as sparkling wines. They can even be enjoyed without any alcohol at all. Jacobs says that in addition to mixers, she always has sparkling water or club soda, ginger beer (especially for seasonal cocktails), and a selection of garnishes on hand.
“They all pair really good with tequila, but I recognize not everyone prefers tequila as their cocktail base,” she says. “My goal is to empower people to create a delicious margarita, expand people’s palates, and prove that margaritas don’t always come in a single flavor or are made with a single liquor.”
Currently Jacobs’ seasonal offering is Apple Cider, which she says pairs well with tequila, warm with bourbon, or even mixed with sparkling wine as a mimosa. She also has her cranberry-orange flavor available during the holidays.
For the Love of Margarita mixes are shelf-stable for roughly four months and up to two weeks in the fridge once opened.
“They make great gifts since they are shelf-stable,” she says. “I can even ship and am working on holiday baskets.”
Right now, her products can be ordered online or purchased from Biggers Market, Motts Channel Seafood, Sundays Surf Cafe, and Lighthouse Beer & Wine. Jacobs can also be found at various pop-up markets, including the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, which runs through December 13 this year. She is working toward an e-commerce site and gaining distribution in additional storefronts, with the goal of maybe operating her own brick-and-mortar shop one day.
“I have a vision to be on local ABC shelves – that would be huge,” she says. “As long as I can keep up with demand. I am full throttle.”
Jacobs stays extra busy with an additional aspect to her business: event bartending services for weddings, corporate events, private parties, and more. During events, she provides mixers in an array of flavors, garnishes, ice, and full-service bartending.
She also partners with groups such as Epic Excursions, a charter business that takes groups out to different islands with a glamping-type setup.
“I’ll bring the margarita bar, and we’ll have a low-country seafood boil or whatever food catering,” Jacobs says. “It’s been really fun.”
As a lover of the ocean and an environmental science major, Jacobs ensures her business utilizes biodegradable, compostable drinkware and focuses on sustainability, bottling her mixers in reusable glass mason jars.
“Customers can return jars to me, and I offer an incentive – $1 off your next order per jar returned,” she says.
Even at home, her focus is on being eco-conscious. She utilizes Wilmington Compost Company to dispose of her food scraps, which get collected and turned into soil.
The holidays should be the last big push for the year, and Jacobs hopes to slow down a bit at the beginning of 2022.
“I need to catch up,” she says. “It’s a lot to juggle, but I’ve gotten it down to a science here, and I have some friends and family to help out. I have a lot of support I’m grateful for.”
Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria
Makes 6-8 drinks
- 1 16-ounce jar of For the Love of Margaritas’ Apple Cider Mix
- 1 cup of white rum
- ½ bottle or 375 milliliters of a bold cabernet, red blend, or pinot noir wine. (For white sangria, the recommended wine would be a sauvignon blanc, white blend, or a pinot gris.)
- 12 ounces of sparkling water or club soda
- Orange slices, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a pitcher with a generous amount of ice. Stir well, pour, and enjoy! Keep in the fridge for up to four days.
Cranberry Orange Libations
Makes 1 drink; a nonalcoholic holiday drink option
- 2 ounces For the Love of Margaritas’ Cranberry Orange Mix
- 6 ounces sparkling water, or Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig and a few cranberries, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a glass with ice cubes and garnish with a rosemary sprig and cranberries.
Pomegranate Gin Fizz
Makes 1 drink
- 2 ounces of For the Love of Margaritas’ Pomegranate Lime Mix
- 2 ounces of floral gin (Can substitute with vodka)
- 1 ounce cold club soda
- 1 teaspoon of pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- 1 pasteurized egg white
- 2 ounces sparkling wine
Add club soda, sparkling wine, and pomegranate seeds to a martini glass or coupe. In a shaker, without ice, add gin, Pomegranate Lime Mix, and egg white. Shake vigorously for a minimum of 30 seconds. Add ice to the shaker. Shake again to chill for at least a minute. Strain into glass.
To view more of photographer Daria Amato’s work, go to dariaphoto.com
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