Summer is coming. Time to switch our drinking regimen from stouts, red wines, and whiskey to more refreshing beverages. The first thing that always comes to mind when the temps top 80 degrees is a margarita, and, boy, do we know quite a few places around town that serve up unique and delicious takes on the classic cocktail.
Last year, we decided which ones we liked the best, and some have stuck around. But there also are some newcomers that have edged out a few of last year's picks. Start testing them out yourself so you know where to frequent when temps start soaring.
Margarita at The Duce Everything at The Duce is made from old recipes, and its margarita is no different. Based on a recipe from 1941, the bartender squeezes fresh lime after fresh lime into a shaker, adding T Tierras Organic Tequila, Fruit Lab Orange Liqueur, and agave before muddling even more lime. The small drink, served in a cutesy mason jar with a brightly colored straw is so refreshing -- like a booze-infused limeade -- that you'll want to drink one after another when the temps start to rise.
Jalapeno-Infused Margarita at Brick By letting jalapeños chill out in some tequila, Brick starts its margarita in a shockingly spicy way. The heat of the jalapeño-infused margarita is cooled by mint, but then is spiked by the Tajin garnish on top and on the rim. With all those chilis and spices, you'd expect a less-than-refreshing drink, but what you get is a thirst-quenching cocktail with a nice little afterburn.
Prickly Pear Margarita at Rokerij Every time we try something new from the Richardson's/Rokerij/Dick's Hideaway group, we fall in love. Their nearly $13 prickly pear margarita is no exception, although we winced at price. The combination of usual margarita suspects with the kiwi-strawberry Snapple-like flavor of prickly pear adds an extra fruitiness to the drink, and we just can't get enough.
Margarita at SideBar Half the fun of going to SideBar is watching the talented bartenders squeeze, shake, mix, and muddle your drink to perfection. Their straight-up take on a margarita on the rocks is sure to calm your margarita cravings with its evenly balanced sweet and tart components. Plus, if you go on a Monday night, your margarita will be only $4.25.
Jamaica Margarita at Barrio Café This floral take on the classic cocktail is sure to brighten up your spring. Believe it or not, the Tesoro silver tequila, Grand marnier and fresh lime juice with Jamaica aquas is only the second-most popular pink margarita at Barrio, after the pink Cadillac, but its unique flavor puts it at number one for us.
Huckleberry Frozen Margarita at Roaring Fork Finally, a margarita with a delicious berry twist. It might not be authentic, but it sure is good to drink. It's worth mentioning that this huckleberry margarita is the only frozen blended margarita that made the list. That's saying a lot, because we can't stand the brain freeze that so often comes with blended margs.
Aguacate Margarita at The Mission While some margaritas try to have the consistency of Icee, The Mission's aguacate (avocado) margarita is more like a smoothie. The creamy blended avocado provides a luxurious base to the drink, which is silky and incomparably intoxicating. All that goodness is offset by a limey, sour nature so tasty that it's hard to tell that this is an alcoholic concoction. We also recommend The Mission's ginger cilantro margarita -- if avocado isn't your thing.
Margarita Especial at Sierra Bonita Grill What's so especial about Sierra Bonita's Margarita Especial? Brandy. The hit of the super-sweet liquor at the end adds color to the glass, which starts with shaken orange juice, Cointreau, reposado tequila, and homemade sweet and sour. Served in a larger-than-normal cocktail glass and boozy in nature, it's definitely not a margarita for lightweights. But if you can handle it, it's delicious.
Pitcher of Margarita at Mi Patio Though Mi Patio's margarita kind of tastes like lime Gatorade, the fact that you get a huge pitcher for $9.50 when other bars serve one marg for more than that puts it in the running. Combined with one of Mi Patio's huge and inexpensive plates, the proportions are sure to leave you satisfied.
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Tamarind Margarita at La Condesa If you're lucky enough to go to La Condesa on a Friday and snag one of the devilishly hot habanero margaritas before they sell out, do so. If you're there any other day of the week, you have to grab a Tamarind Margarita. Made with a fresh housemade tamarindo aguas that's so pulpy you'll be hooked instantly and garnished with even more tamarind on top, you definitely get your fill of the sour fruit and seasoning. Just don't forget to eat one of the Oaxacan black mole chicken tacos while you're there.