Realeza Michoacana
Sick of the rock-hard snow cones and corn syrup popsicles from your local ice cream man? Pack up the kids and take them to Realeza Michoacana instead, where they'll get a fresh fruity treat instead of an over-processed, syrupy sugar high. Paletas contain loads of fresh fruit in exotic flavor combos that your local ice cream truck probably doesn't bother stocking. They have familiar fruit flavors and more exotic tropical tastes, like guava, tamarind, and horchata. There's also a "cocktail" paleta if you're feeling the need for a midday frozen margarita, or snag a mango chili paleta with chunks of fresh mango mixed into a salty, lime-infused, chilly treat.
Paletas Betty
We won't name names, but someone we know is really into Otter Pops. Yes, those rainbow-hued sugar-water packets from our youth. Ugh. Clearly, this gentleman has never wrapped his tongue around a platano paleta. That's bananas Foster with homemade caramel and añejo rum to you, mister, and it freezes out all the ice pop competition. We have lusted after the gourmet Mexican popsicles sold in places like Los Angeles and New York but wondered how they would fare in Chandler. Quite nicely, apparently, because Betty Alatorre De Hong opened her second paleta shop on Mill Avenue this summer. Now we'll have two places to get nuez (roasted pecan), sandia (watermelon with fresh mint), and cereza (brandied cherries in sweet almond) paletas. Be sure to check Betty's website; flavors change daily.
Los Reyes De La Torta
Aguas frescas literally translates to "fresh waters" in English, and Los Reyes de la Torta has "the kings" right in its name. So naturally, when it comes to aguas, Los Reyes reigns supreme. Enjoy an impressive variety of jewel-toned aguas reminiscent of Kool-Aid, minus the sugar high and neon food coloring. Try the jamaica, a bright red hibiscus flower drink, or the classic watermelon. And if you're feeling a bit naughty, snag a strawberry, mango, or guava cremosa, laden with smooth cream. A tall glass of something cold and fruity can be instant relief from a blazing summer day, and the regal Los Reyes de la Torta certainly delivers.
Gallo Blanco Cafe
Robrt Pela
The only way to make the fresh cantaloupe and watermelon (among others) juices at Gallo Blanco — the restaurant at the hipper-than-thou Clarendon Hotel — is to add a healthy shot of tequila or vodka. So that's just what we do. It's very responsible: We're getting our vitamins. This is a healthy way to imbibe, right? Be sure to do so with Gallo's killer guacamole and chips. Hey, stop judging. Avocado is a super-food! And at least we're soaking up all that booze.
Los Dos Molinos
Lauren Saria
There always is a wait, the staff isn't the friendliest, and the food is hot enough to burn every single taste bud from your tongue, but we keep finding our way back to the patio of this South Phoenix hot spot for its kick-ass house margarita. It isn't infused with lavender, there isn't a trace of rosewater, and the tequila hasn't been blessed by a holy donkey from the depths of Mexico, but the housemade margs deliver with a not-too-sweet, perfectly sour base blended nicely with puree of real strawberries, raspberries, and limes. As for the tequila — there's enough of it in these suckers to literally put you on your ass after just one. You think we're joking — let's see if you can remember your dinner after two.
Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila
Jamie Peachey
Cien Agaves lives up to its name, with 100 different types of tequila on hand, but it's the way Cien Agaves makes use of that tequila that really has us hooked. Prickly pear, hibiscus, cucumber, and mango margaritas all grace the menu, and they're all worth lingering over with a basket of chips and salsa on the side. We recommend the habanero lime margarita if you're feeling particularly adventurous. It's an intriguing combo of frosty citric sweetness and a slow burn that keeps you coming back for more. Or you can split the Gigante, a 56-ounce mega-size marg, if it's going to be one of those nights.
Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant
Meagan Simmons
Colorful piñatas hanging from the ceiling and plastic parrots on the wall are all you need to see to know that Mi Patio's pitchers of margarita may not be made with top-shelf ingredients. But who wants to waste high-quality sipping tequila when your margs will be paired with decadent, deep-fried, cheese-smothered Sonoran food? The pitchers of margarita from Mi Patio are the pitch-perfect accompaniment to the menu. We recommend pairing your half-gallon of marg with the Appetizer Supreme, a feast of chimis, flautas, nachos, and gyros meat. Yep, we said gyros. It's the perfect post-work escape or weekend treat for a group, and it's cheap enough not to break the bank.

Best Illegal Double-Fisted Margarita

Z'Tejas

Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill
We have been drinking at Z'Tejas for years, and our drink of choice has always been the Chambord Margarita. On a recent night out, we learned why. We'd just about finished one marg when our waitress kindly asked if we wanted another round. Yes, please. Not quite done with Marg #1, we sat back with both drinks before us, oblivious to the fact that clearly, we were no longer a law-abiding citizen. "Um, ma'am, I'm sorry," a deep voice said from behind, "but you simply can't sit with both of those drinks." Turns out, according to state law, you can't have more than four ounces of liquor in front of you at once, and the Chambord Margarita at Z'Tejas calls for nothing less. (Four ounces!? Jeez, that's a lot of booze!) Oops. It was nothing a straw didn't take care of quickly — and it solved a mystery. Now we know why we love the Chambord Margaritas at Z'Tejas so much.
ASU has a reputation for being a party school, but the three ASU alumni who own Cruz Tequila have created a refined sipping tequila that leaves Jose firmly in the collegiate past. Organic and au naturel ingredients are processed in Jalisco, Mexico, and this premium tequila doesn't rely on anything other than the real-deal agave to create its smoothness. No weird additives or unnatural flavors — just pure, hard agave. What's that you say? You don't like tequila? Put down the Jose and upgrade to a hometown tequila that can be sipped solo, mixed in fruity margaritas, or served on an ice block and still hold its own.
Canteen Modern Tequila Bar
Canteen most definitely deserves the "modern" in its name, with contemporary design and a luxe atmosphere. The bar is particularly notable, decorated by upward of 100 types of various blanco, reposado, and aejo tequilas on display (with a bit of mescal added for good measure). To sweeten the deal, Canteen offers a daily "Halfy Hour," when their ridiculously huge tequila selection is half-priced. Specialty tequilas, ranging from $3.50 to upwards of $30 after the discount, are so varied that they might make a convert of even the staunchest but-I-hate-tequila person. Canteen's impressive tequila selection is a welcome addition to the Mill Avenue scene — and you won't leave you feeling seedy and well past your prime, as you might at some Mill Ave youth-centric bars.

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