Best Horchata 2016 | Presidio Cocina Mexicana | Food & Drink | Phoenix

Mediocre horchatas can be found in every corner of metro Phoenix. It only takes one long pull of one of these chalky, cloyingly sweet horchatas — made from the powder stuff, no doubt — to experience a serious case of buyer's remorse. It doesn't have to be this way, though, as is proven by the fresh-made horchata at Presidio Cocina Mexicana in central Phoenix. The Presidio horchata is made tres leches-style — that is, it's made using three milks — and this imbues every cool, tall glass with a rich, frothy sweetness. It's an unmistakably fresh horchata that will help you forget all those bad horchatas in your immediate past.

Tirion Boan

The predominantly pedestrian paloma clocks in at a whopping two ingredients: grapefruit soda and tequila — so it's no wonder that cocktail drinkers tend not to over-think it, if they think of it at all. That is, until recently — all of a sudden, agave spirits are in vogue again, some types for the very first time, and so the elevation of every tequila cocktail, no matter how regal or utilitarian, is well underway. The drink gets a beautiful makeover from The Brickyard, where they infuse a tart, house-made grapefruit shrub with Fresno chilies, throw in some fizzy soda, and rim the glass with a hot and sweet chili flake, sugar, and salt rim that renders this final drink with a profile reminiscent of Mexican candy — that is, with a kick.

Over in uptown Phoenix at The Yard, Barrio Urbano seemingly has more agave spirits than are possible to move off the shelves, but it's a challenge they accept on a daily basis. Variety is king, from classic aged and un-aged tequilas, to smokier Oaxaca mezcals — and further down the rabbit hole they go, too, with lesser-known regional spirits, like earthy and herbaceous sotol from Chihuahua and the robust Sonoran spirit, bacanora. So when it gets down to the margarita or neat spirits alike, there's plenty to dive into, especially at their daily happy hour, where every spirit here is half-price — an insane value.

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