Customer Reviews: Margaritaville Key West Frozen Concoction Maker with Auto or Manual Shave and Blend
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on May 6, 2007
I distinctly remember making fun of the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker when I first saw it advertised in the Front Gate catalog. ("Who's going to buy a three hundred dollar blender on steroids?!? Hah-hah-hah...") Imagine my horror when my wife announced that she wanted one for her birthday. Looks like that "who" was going to be "me".

The vast majority of positive reviews on Amazon calmed my fears a bit and I ordered one up. As usual, Amazon delivered quickly and it was unpacked and setup in a couple minutes.

Exactly true to its claims, the thing actually makes perfect consistency margaritas and any other frozen drinks you can think of. I think I like it more than my wife. It has a "power tool" vibe to it that guys appreciate. Spinning blades and high speed motors. What could possibly go wrong?

There's a few things/tips to be aware of:

1) It's BIG. It just barely clears the front of our kitchen cabinets and is too tall to go under them. Pretty heavy to lift onto a high shelf too.

2) It does a more consistent job making a "full" pitcher than just a single drink. Having a lot of ice in the hopper works best; putting a single glass full of ice in will be too watery if you use the automatic cycle. To compensate, for a single drink I manually hold the "shave" switch on for ~4-5 seconds prior to starting the automatic mix cycle. Works great.

3) The shaved ice melts faster than cubes when it touches glass, so I've taken to icing the pitcher to keep the glass cool (or at least filling it with cold water for a few seconds) before adding the liquid ingredients. Unlike plastic pitchers on commercial drink makers, the glass (thick glass at that) can transfer a lot of heat. Popping it straight out of a hot dishwasher onto the stand will give you a mighty runny margarita.

4) Although "dishwasher safe" the lid to our pitcher turned a funny mottled brown/green color after one cycle in the wash. Not sure if it was the heat or the detergent or what, but after that it was slightly brittle and generally "weird". A call to the 800 customer service number yielded a free replacement which we just hand wash now.

All in all, it works as advertised and is a real crowd pleaser at parties. A good gizmo.
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on August 21, 2006
When I saw this item for sale I just had to buy one for my husband as a college graduation gift. Margaritas are his favorite drink and he just couldn't duplicate that restaurant quality consistancy with a blender. This Margaritaville machine actually shaves the ice instead of chopping it like a blender would do. This creates that nice smooth consistancy of the drink instead of a lumpy texture.

It's very easy to operate. All you do is fill the ice chamber with ice, pour the correct amout of your drink mixture into the pitcher (it will make 1-3 servings at a time), set the machine to how many servings you would like, then turn it on. The machine automatically measure,shaves and blend the perfect amount of ice according to the amount of servings. No more watery drinks.

When my kids have friends over for pool parties they love me to make them alcohol free strawberry daiquiris or pina coladas or fruit smoothies.

One nice feature about this machine is that as the ice in the ice chamber melts, the water is channeled into a collection reservoir, that is easily removeable to dump out. The water never mixes with the drink mix.

Clean-up is simple. Whatever ice remains in the ice chamber can be left to melt and drain into the reservoir then discard it or you can have the machine shave the remaining ice into the pitcher. We put our pitcher and pitcher parts into the dishwasher for a good cleaning.

If you are a frozen drink lover, like my husband and I are you have to own one of these. It's pricey but worth it!

I also, highly recommend the canvas carrying case that can be purchased separately. It's very nicely made.
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on June 12, 2011
I have used this Margaritaville machine for over a year and am very pleased with this unit. I had previously purchased two less expensive Margarita makers in the $70.00 range and found they made margaritas fine.

My wife came home from Costco and mentioned the Margaritaville machine was on sale for $199.00. I purchased one have have not used the other units since.

Some features to note:

1. This machine is large; it does not fit under the cupboards in our kitchen, nor did my wife want this unit in the kitchen on display all the time. I have it set up in our enclosed carport, right next to a portable ice making machine. (Very handy indeed).

2. The Margaritaaville shaving blade does a far superior job than the other units I have. No lumps and a very smooth blend of ice in your drink.

3. It is better to load more ice than you think you need; better to have extra ice when it is in the automatic shave and blend mode.

4. When selecting one, two, or three drinks the unit takes all the guess work out of the equation. This is one of the features I appreciate the most.

5. There is a small hole and holding container in the ice basket that allows the water to store in a plastic unit at the back. This works great and keeps the ice dry. I have never needed to empty the water holder when hosting a get together with a lot of people over.

6. After each use, I simply wash it out in soapy water and am careful to reassemble the washer and blade to the bottom of the glass holder. The first two or three times I was not as careful as I should have been, and found the margarita mix leaked out of the bottom. Would suggest you are very careful to make sure the bottom plastic ring is placed even and you have to remember to tighten it opposite to the way you would normally want to screw it on.

7. When making say two drinks for yourself, after the ice and mix is all blended up, I would suggest placing an empty margarita glass under the ice drop. Sometimes ice will drop down to the bottom of the unit. When it is time for your second drink you can manual shave a bit more ice then mix it up. If you shave too much ice your drink will be somewhat weaker.

8. I purchased the carrying case separately to transport this unit, but have only used it a few times. It works great but I personally found it a bit too much bother to take else where.

9. We entertain outside and have a lot of cement in our back yard. Suggest you get a good supply of plastic margarita glasses. This makes everyone relax as on occasion accidents happen.

10. Clean up is a breeze. Our unit looks as new as the day we brought it home. It has had a lot of use. We cover the unit with the plastic bag it came in.

11. As mentioned we placed the Margarita unit next to our ice making machine. [...]

12. Bar mix works great. Here is the type we use, both lemon and lime. Suggest you weigh out 1/2 or 1/4 the mix into a plastic mixing contain. I use a portable drill and small paint mixer to mix up the bar mix. It works great and much better than a wooden spoon I first tried. You want all the mix incorporated in the water. [...]

13. As I am writing this review, the sun is shining, and I am getting thirsty, it is time I mix up a refreshing margarita.

The Margarita machine works great and I cannot think of any negative features. I set the ice making machine to the smallest ice cubes, as i heard this is easier for the blades to shave the ice. The blades are made of stainless steel and the rubber casket is soft rubber.

The recipe I normally make for two drinks is 3 ounces of Tequila, 1 ounce of Triple sec, 8 ounces of lime bar mix. Set the unit to two drinks and it is automatic.

My daughter has made smoothies with this unit and manually shaves the ice and mixes the drink mixture until the desired thickness he enjoys.

This is a rather long review, but hopefully you will find some of the features mentioned helpful.
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on May 25, 2007
I ordered mine in February. I received it within 3 days using the free shipping.

I fired it up that night with my fiance and friends.

We made 3 different types of "freezy" drinks.

The machine is so worth it!

I was considering buying the full size Parrot-Ice machine for 2k, but decided to be a little frugal. I'm glad I did!

This machine will keep a party of 2-15 people happy as long as you have TONS of ice on hand.

I set it up on a table with 3, or 4 different types of mixes and a big cooler of ice.

We have thrown 2 pool parties, and 2 crawfish boils with this machine kicking out drinks. Not once has there been a problem, except for XXXXXXX getting her bikini top ripped off by the ice hooper lid.....but that was NOT the machines fault! (mostly not) :)

Cleaning the machine is just like cleaning your blender, but with a few more parts. It is a drag, but it is worth it. It takes about 5 minutes to clean and dry all the parts.

We discovered a low calorie freezy drink you should try.

Crystal Lite made with 1 part water, 2 parts vodka, and ice.

Set the machine for 3 servings and add the liquid to the 3cup measure on the side.

Give the blended mixture a little more shaved ice and viola!

Seriously buy the machine, or you will hate yourself and stub your toe.

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on April 18, 2006
I have been looking for a blender that would make perfect margaritas or daiquiris and this is the one. It makes 1, 2 or 3 drinks at a time, and perfect everytime, as long as you read and follow the directions and put in the right amount of mix. Easy to use and clean. I had been looking for an Island Oasis Blender on Ebay, but the Margaritaville Frozen Conconction Maker is so much smaller and priced well below what a used Island Oasis was going for. This is perfect for travel and I plan on taking it to many Jimmy Buffett concerts. The only downside is the ice storage on top, they need to have an attachment that will hold a bag of ice so you don't have to refill as often.
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on June 23, 2006
OK, If you can't love this machine, your mother did you major damage in your formative years. I would suggest a trip to Dr. Phil for some intensive therapy. This machine produces the best shaved ice in the world. No mere blender can compete. You might say it is overpriced but you probably drive a Hyundai and tell people it is just as good as a BMW. Plus it comes with a great recipe book to help you change your latitude and change your attitude. I find myself humming boat songs about 4:30 every day! Ditch your therapist and buy one of these!
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on September 12, 2010
This machine is a 3 at best. We loved this machine for the first 8 months but then it broke due to poor construction. The mechanism at the bottom of the jar used for blending is made of plastic and all the pieces were shaven off leaving the machine inoperable. I contacted the manufacturer and they will replace the unit with the same model. I asked for an upgrade at my expense and they said no and that once my warranty runs out then I should purchase the upgrade. The Fiji parts are made of metal, so they say, and so I would definitely go with that model even though it is slightly more, it will last much longer.
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on May 17, 2008
4 or 5 stars depends on your definition of the perfect thickness.
If you chill the glasses and chill the pitcher using the regular mixer instructions you get a tasty smooth delicately frozen margarita-but its not the kind you can stand up a straw in.
We like ours so that there is just thick enough slush to stand a straw straight up in the center of the glass-without ice chunks.
We tried adding extra shaved ice then our own blending with the buttons provided-but too hit or miss-and the point is that this thing is supposed to be automatic. Then we tried cheating a bit by using the liquid mixes and alcohol for a 2 drink mix-but set the machine on the 3 drink setting. Better but still not quite right.
Then we tried the old Bacardi Frozen Mixers we used to use in our old blender-and voila perfection!
Our recipe is as follows:
-Half a can of Barcardi Frozen Mixer
-3 oz of alcohol (rum or tequila)
-3 drink setting
Don't have to chill the pitcher or anything. And a straw stands in the center of any glass with no ice chunks.
Also we found it makes great snow cones for the kids but just using the shave ice button.
Any other recipes please share.
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on July 20, 2006
The worst part about this machine was defintely the price. sold it for the same price listed everywhere else that had this machine but you know AMAZON.COM is so easy to use and so trustworthy, I decided to surprise my wife and buy her this machine. She LOVES it! Granted, we may need to soon find a Betty Ford clinic as the Margaritas are so addictive, but make no doubt about it....there is no other machine (unless you go industrial and then watch the price) that compares to this one!! Buy one today and start living it up right now! Thanks again AMAZON.COM! You truly make every buying experience a pleasure!!!
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on June 29, 2007
Reviews below are correct. A little pricey, not crazy about the plastic... but it makes the best drinks I have ever made. Was concerned about it only making 3 drinks at a time but it makes a batch so fast that it's no problem. Our biggest problem is that now everyone wants to be the bartender/play with the machine.

Using 4 shots tequila, 1 shot trip sec, and a can of frozen limeaid for a full pitcher with excellent results.
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