SIP SIP HOORAY
13 San Antonio spots shaking up National Margarita Day
It’s a cruel coincidence that National Margarita Day falls on February 22, smack dab in the middle of San Antonio’s second coldest month. But even a winter chill won’t stop locals from enjoying the city’s favorite refresher. From upscale restaurants to dive bars, margs are served everywhere. The only tricky part is knowing who does them best.
The Bar at Mixtli
Everything at this modern Mexican Southtown restaurant is considered, so its no bombshell that its margaritas should follow suit. But the Overproof Spice Margarita really pulls out all the stops, both for its octane and it’s one-two punch of serrano and arbol salt.
Although this downtown hangout has a traditional marg for the purists, the vibrant outdoor space calls for something with a little more color. The Mission Rita does just that, adding the crimson zing of prickly pear.
This long-running Alamo City restaurant is the place to go for those who like a little flavor in their tequila. There’s 17 of them to choose from, ranging from mainstays like blue curaçao and strawberry to surprises like amaretto or apple pucker.
This artsy Southtown bar has been one of the most unanticipated recent additions to Alamo City nightlife, so it’s fitting that its margarita would be just as remarkable. Though based on the classic build, it has a woodsy kick courtesy of palo santo bitters.
La Fonda on Main
La Fonda has been at it since 1932, which has given it more than enough time to get the formula right. Its cucumber jalapeño take is especially zippy when paired with a platter of bacon-wrapped Diablitos.
OK, this rum bar’s El Tamarindo isn’t a margarita per se. But it has tequila, lime juice, and a touch of sweetness from ancho pepper liqueur. We say that’s close enough.
This perennially chic River Walk eatery is a top spot for those who like a little sweetness in their margarita without an instant cavity. Ranch Water — that kissing cousin of the marg — is well represented too, made here with earthy sotol.
Few local libations are as famous as this Alamo Heights favorite’s vivacious ’09. But be warned! Don't expect to get anything else accomplished if you down a couple of these at lunch.
There’s no better excuse to visit Rosario’s new Southtown digs than National Margarita Day. The San Antonio staple has several varieties from a refreshing variety spiked with mint and watermelon to the Cocorita, a frozen marg mixed with a piña colada.
The La Babia margarita at Hotel Emma’s resident bar is as minimal as a Luis Barragan building. Blanco tequila, orange liqueur, and freshly squeezed lime juice slide into a shaker before landing in a turquoise etched glass.
When San Antonians rave about the mythical powers of the chispa, they are probably thinking about this spot. Order them with the traditional tequila or shake things up with mezcal. There’s even a $40 ultra-premium option for impressing the in-laws.
Summer Camp Bar
Have your own wet hot American summer (or winter) at this poppy Grayson Street newcomer. The Hot Pants Margarita is particularly steamy with jalapeños and a spicy rim.
This neighborhood haunt is celebrating the holiday with a vintage night market — and of course margarita specials. Shop around with a classic mango marg on the rocks or an intriguing mezcal and tequila frozen with hibiscus and cherry.