Happy National Margarita Day! This holiday is a strange one indeed, and like the origin of the Margarita itself, the day’s beginnings are unknown. Nevertheless, despite not knowing where it comes from, I wanted to share 5 of my favorite Margaritas I have had this last year, and where to enjoy them.
1. Pepino Diablo at La Esquina NYC
Cucumber and Tanteo Jalapeño go so well together, and this is one of the coolest places to drink this spicy yet refreshing concoction. It takes a walk through the kitchen to get into the subterranean den in this semi-hidden Soho restaurant and lounge (and very close to our very own Casa Tanteo), but once you are in, you are transformed into a place that seems so distant from the bustling streets above. Reservations are required here, so make sure to plan in advance.
2. Garden Variety Margarita at the Wayland NYC
Another salad in a glass, the addition of fresh kale and fresh ginger juice give this Margarita so much snap. While they have the regular version as well, step up to the spicy Tanteo version for a truly unique experience. This Margarita has a more aggressive flavor than most, all the way up to the smoked salt on the rim, so this is not for the faint of heart. The ambiance here is also amazing. With great service that is proper but unpretentious, and live music 4 nights a week, I have been a consistent patron of this bar since the day it opened (Full disclosure: Operating Partner and monthly musician Brian Hawthorne is also a close friend of mine).
This high volume Peruvian restaurant really cranks with this Tanteo Jalapeño, Mezcal, and Red Pepper concoction. Each cocktail is also served with a spherical rococo ice cube (a spicy red pepper puree that is frozen). As a former restaurant operator, it is very impressive how they can execute so many of these cocktails while putting so much attention to each one. The food is also fantastic at this ever busy restaurant, and during the warmer months they have a beautiful patio as well.
4. Master Minsingmah at Good Luck Bar Los Angeles
Don’t ask me the origin story of this cocktail name, but just know that it is delicious. Not only does the sweetness of the fresh watermelon balance out the heat from the Jalapeño, the color is a beautiful pink in this dimly lit LA institution. This cocktail is also topped with ginger beer, giving an extra bit of snap and pop that complements the watermelon well. Like all the spots on this list - the ambiance here is very cool - one part old school LA glamour and one part kitch. It is no wonder that hospitality veteran Sean Macpherson created the vibe her over 20 years ago.
5. Tanteo Jalapeño Margarita at Rocco’s Tacos (FL and New York)
I wanted to finish with the classic. No one does Margaritas in a festive atmosphere like Roccos. Although you know my opinion on Cointreau in Margaritas, the one is pretty darn good, and I always promote getting a pitcher and sharing with a few friends. A fun place to start or end the night, I love going to their brooklyn location, and then heading to watch a basketball game at the nearby Barclay’s Center.
So there you have it - 5 fantastic cocktails to try at 5 equally fantastic restaurants and lounges across the United States. Good food, good drinks, and great friends make great experiences. Get some friends out there and enjoy one of these drinks tonight. Please continue the conversation online at @neiltherealdeal on Instagram and @neilgrosscup on Twitter.
Para la buena vida,