Fame has its disadvantages, even for a cocktail. Take the margarita. In its purest form—fresh-squeezed lime juice, triple sec, tequila—it’s the essence of summertime refreshment. But the ubiquitous beverage has suffered for its popularity; cheap imitations made from inferior ingredients have debased an otherwise respectable cocktail. Thankfully, some of the city’s more creative bartenders have rescued the margarita from a dire fate, giving the drink a fresh new taste. Here are four versions worth checking out.
The drink: The Margarite ($10)
Where to try it: Lounge on 20
What’s in it: Tequila, fresh lime juice, orchard pear liqueur, Bénédictine
The appeal: Margarita goes to Paris. Softer, silkier and more subtle than the original.
The drink: MIX-ED Up Margarita ($11)
Where to try it: Mix Downtown
What’s in it: Cazadores Reposado tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, lime juice and fresh pineapple chunks muddled with sage
The appeal: Margarita meets mojito. Unexpected flavors make what’s old new again.
The drink: Blackberry Margarita ($10)
Where to try it: Zócalo
What’s in it: 100 percent blue agave blanco tequila, fresh blackberries, agave nectar, fresh juice from 1 ½ limes
The appeal: It’s all about the berries. Rich, gorgeous color. Not cloyingly sweet.
The drink: Margarita de Jamaica ($8.50)
Where to try it: Centro Cocina Mexicana
What’s in it: Sauza Hornitos Plata tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice and agua fresca de jamaica (Mexican hibiscus tea)
The appeal: Like a Mexican version of a cosmopolitan. Herbal, cranberrylike flavor.