Year after year, the margarita remains the single most-ordered cocktail in the United States. And why not? That perfect ratio of lime and tequila, sweet and sour, is a classic crowd pleaser.
Also, we’re very concerned about avoiding scurvy, and while some people will tell you that’s not very likely to happen with a modern, non-seafaring diet, we still think it’s best to take in as much citrus juice as possible. If some tequila gets mixed in there, it’s just a delicious bonus, right?
With all that in mind, here are a few of L.A.’s best takes on this beloved drink.
Frogtown’s favorite patio hotspot serves so many of these delicious margaritas that they put them on tap for immediate access. Grab a seat under the olive trees and enjoy a couple alongside some of the best Sonoran-style grilled meats around. (2490 Fletcher Drive, Elysian Valley)
A Valley institution since 1956 (founded by the same family that first opened a restaurant on Olvera Street in the 1930s), Casa Vega has been shaking up margaritas for generations. The cantina’s classic margarita is the signature recipe of founder Rafael Vega, but there are 14 other options to pick from as well, available by glass or pitcher. (13301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks)
You don’t have to go to a Mexican restaurant to drink a margarita. The Westside’s most creative cocktail bar, Accomplice, puts their special twist on the margarita. This version incorporates pineapple, allspice, falernum, spicy firewater, and a pinch of the superfood powder known as Blue Majik. (3811 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista)
Not to be mistaken for Gracias Madre in WeHo (which we’ll address in a moment), this stylish newcomer is bringing Oaxacan fare and a deep mezcal and tequila program to an unexpected corner of Torrance. Try the smokey margarita, made with Los Javis mezcal and a spicy chili liqueur. (1261 Cabrillo Ave., Torrance)
Have you ever had a whiskey sour? An amaretto sour? Well, then you know that a margarita, which is based on the same formula, could have been named “tequila sour.” Gracias Madre’s Oaxacan sour is a tasty mix of lime, agave, and mezcal, topped off with a citrus salt rim. It’s just one of the lovely margarita variants available here. There’s even a mocktail margarita if you’re feeling booze-free. (8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood)
Leave it to José Andrés to whip up what is perhaps the most luxurious marg in L.A. Served in a cocktail glass, the margarita at the Bazaar is topped with a foam of “salt air” and a sprinkle of the traditional Oaxacan spice blend Sal de Gusano, made from a pulverized mixture of Mexican sea salt, and toasted, ground particles of agave worms. (465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove)
Local chainlet Tocaya Organica already has four locations around the city, with three more in the works. That means, wherever you are in L.A., you’re probably not far from some tasty, fast-casual-ish Mexican food and fun margaritas, made with fresh juices. Choose from strawberry, passionfruit, tamarind, hibiscus, pomegranate, or classic lime. (507 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica and 8720 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood)
If your ideal margarita is bright green and served in a salt-rimmed fishbowl, you probably already know all about Acapulco. Sure, the cocktail snobs might look askance, but they’re just jealous of the teeny bottle of Grand Marnier you’ve got dangling on the side of your drink. (722 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale)
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