The Complete Guide to Margaritas

While the basic ingredients are the same, these five margaritas rise above all the rest.
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While the basic ingredients are the same, these five margaritas rise above all the rest.


Cheap: La Mexicana

Photograph by Catie Viox

The no-frills Mexican restaurant and international grocery in Newport slings a perfectly delicious margarita for those on a budget. The large is almost big enough to swim in (now there’s a happy thought), and La Mexicana’s rendition is a classic mix of sweet, tart, and refreshing. You won’t find any wild infusions or outlandish garnish in this drink, because it’s plumb, old-fashioned good all on its own. But if you’re feeling fancy, make it a Corona-Rita, because a tiny bottle of beer makes everything better. • 642 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 261-6112


Crazy: Mi Cozumel

Photograph by Catie Viox

Some of Mi Cozumel’s flashy margs are served out of massive fishbowls (big enough to hold a bouquet), Vegas-sized carafes that wouldn’t look out of place walking on the Strip, IV bags (seriously), and massive marg towers. Our Fishbowl Marg, which came perfectly frozen and layered like a sunset, had an entire fruit bowl and gummies hanging off the rim, shots of bubbling fog, and a giant, show-stopping sparkler. • Multiple locations, micozumel.com


On the Rocks: Agave & Rye

Photograph by Catie Viox

The Jalapeño Pineapple Rita is the perfect balance of sweet and heat—as if tequila didn’t burn on the way down already, A&R uses a jalapeño-infused spirit to give this drink a nice kick. If you’re seeking a more mellow warmth, the Bee Sting is essentially the love child of a margarita and a Kentucky Mule. Whiskey, ginger beer, and a dash of Angostura elevate this mule-garita into something new and delicious. The skull glasses they serve in are pretty cool, too. • Multiple locations, agaveandrye.com


Frozen: El Rio Bravo

Photograph by Catie Viox

Don’t let El Rio Bravo’s strip mall appearance fool you: the Alexandria Tex Mex joint serves a basic but perfectly frozen cocktail. Your choice of blanco tequila comes perfectly balanced (because there’s nothing worse than a watery marg) with salt or sugar on the rim and a lime wheel. It may not come with a whole song and dance, but a classic marg done right can easily be called the best in the region. • 6815 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria, (859) 448-9906


Top Shelf: La Ofrenda

Photograph by Catie Viox

Jacob Treviño’s ode to Día de los Muertos possesses a collection of high-end tequilas potent enough to wake the dead. If you’re lucky, you might catch the Gorilla Cinema founder behind the bar to mix your sweetly spicy Mango Habanero or Pablo’s Passion. The 20-seat Over-the-Rhine bar, furnished in the style and warmth of a Mexican mercado with eye-catching murals, has the best vibes of any place to drink margaritas on this list. • 30 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine, laofrendatequila.com

 

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