It may seem weird that a drink with only three-ish ingredients can taste so fantastic in one place and so not-at-all-fantastic in another, but weird is what this town does best. So without further ado (and leaving aside old familiar spots like Curra’s, Maudie’s, and Polvos), here's where to get the finest margaritas in town...
These Innovative Cocktails Double as Science Experiments
Alcomar (address and info) South First The South First seafood-focused spot is getting a lot of attention for its fresh and creative cuisine, but its cocktail program should not be overlooked. Its Don Carlos margarita is a classic, and definitely not boring, example of a perfect margarita. It’s a blend of Don Julio Blanco, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and a Bolivian pink salt rim.
Mango Habanero Margarita
Takoba (address and info) Seventh Street Bust out your sunnies and grab a seat on Takoba’s patio. Order its Mango Habanero Margarita (El Jimador Reposado, Patrón Citronge, fresh mango, habanero syrup, lime juice), its fruit-meets-spicy kick is jussst right.
Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita
Licha’s Cantina (address and info) East Sixth The little casita on East Sixth known for its legit interior Mexican food has a pink and powerful margarita made with watermelon-infused Espolón tequila, lime, Combier (orange liqueur), and a spicy chili rim. Pro tip: these are only $5 during the 4-7pm happy hour.
Margarita La Clásica
La Condesa (address and info) Second Street A see-and-be-seen hotspot, La Condesa serves up a perfectly balanced margarita made with El Jimador Silver, Patrón Citrónge, lime juice, agave nectar, and a super-fun cactus lemongrass-infused salt rim.
El Chile Cafe y Cantina (address and info) Manor Road While all of its cocteles are as tasty as they are boozy -- we particularly like the La Tuna. It’s a dark pink frozen margarita infused with tequila-marinated prickly pear. It's fit for even the most professional of Sunday Funday-ers.
Taco Flats (address and info) Burnet Road The recently revamped Taco Flats has a serious cocktail program thanks to the always inventive Justin Mork (also of East Side Showroom). We love its Oaxacan Wipeout, a modern twist on the traditional margarita: mezcal, pineapple juice, cinnamon habanero syrup, absinthe, and hand-squeezed lime juice.
Fixe (address and info) Downtown "Austin’s Southern House" does a twist on the margarita using a Louisiana favorite to mix things up (Abita). The Abita-Rita uses Avion Silver, Grand Marnier, lime, orange, and Abita Amber.
Searsucker (address and info) Warehouse District Enjoy a twist on the classic margarita at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s (Top Chef: Miami finalist and co-host of The Taste) Searsucker with the Jale Berry. The drink features house-infused strawberry jalapeño tequila with lime, agave, and salt.
El Naranjo (address and info) Rainey Street This Mexican restaurant on Rainey St features a great selection of tequila and mezcal, and it also has margaritas. Go figure. Its bestselling is the Mezcaliña, made with Agave de Cortes Silver mezcal, muddled serranos, basil agave nectar, lime juice, and pineapple juice.
W Hotel Austin (address and info) Downtown The W recently updated its Living Room bar menu with a new and refreshing take on a margarita. Its version includes Casamigos Blanco tequila, crème de violette, agave, lime, and grapes. Don’t miss it during Primetime Happy Hour, which take places seven days a week from 7-10pm.
Jacoby’s (address and info) East Cesar Chavez Although Jacoby’s is known for its high-quality cuts of meat and Southern hospitality, its cocktail menu is on point. The Mezcal Margarita is a smoky version of a classic ‘rita that comes rimmed with tangy Trechas.
El Alma (address and info) Barton Springs Road The Margarita Chilanga is a local favorite for a reason. It is a slushy, ice-cold frozen margarita infused with a spicy chili powder mix and fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice and served with an El Chile rim. Pro tip: The Margarita Chilanga is only $7 during happy hour, every day from 3-6pm.
Rio Rita (address and info) East Twelfth The quiet coffee shop by day just happens to be a solid drinks destination by 5pm. Try its jalapeño-infused margarita, made with 100% agave tequila, Paula’s Texas Orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar -- its spicy kick will wake you up.
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