The Quest for the Perfect Margarita

February 24, 2010 at 12:52 am (Around Town)

We spend much of the year celebrating holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Presidents Day, MLK Day and the 4th of July. But, did you know what we celebrate on February 22? You got it – National Margarita Day. Apparently this is a “holiday” and one that gives us the excuse to take a break from our daily lives and sip a chilled Margarita, while thinking of a beachfront vacation. Now, Arizona is missing a key element for a beach vacation… an ocean, but we do happen to have some of the best Mexican food restaurants in the U.S. With a holiday like National Margarita Day, it’s only fitting to salute the trademark Mexican cocktail and begin a quest to find the perfect Margarita.

While searching, why don’t you take the Quest to the next level… the Margarita Club Level!

If you feel like celebrating National Margarita Day more than once a year, grab a few friends and start your own Margarita Club. It’s simple. Create a list of restaurants with tempting Margaritas on the menu, pick a day each month and meet your friends there to catch up and try them out. Let the restaurant know your coming and they might even give you some extra samples!

Here are just a couple spots around town to get you started on your quest for finding the Margaritas at the end of the rainbow.

Tortilla Factory

The Old Town Tortilla Factory calls Scottsdale its home for 75 years now. Enjoy authentic Southwestern food with a Mexican “twist,” along with some tasty Margaritas to quench your thirst. The patio is perfect for a sunny spring day or evening. Looking for a Margarita on a budget? Check out their Happy Hour from 4-5 p.m. and try it out for $5!

Frank and Lupes

In business for 25 years, Frank and Lupe’s sits in the heart of Old Town, Scottsdale and entertains visitors and locals all year-round. It’s best to visit Frank and Lupe’s in the spring when the night air is fresh and warming up. Sip their Margaritas and try their sopaipillas.

Los Olivos

Family owned and operated, Los Olivos has a prime location next to the Giant’s Stadium in Old Town, Scottsdale. After cheering on your spring training teams, stop by Los Olivos and try out their signature Margarita in a charming atmosphere.

Los Sombreros

This is another classic gem that’s been in business for over 15 years. Home of classic authentic regional cooking, they have a variety of Margarita’s to choose from, including the Margarita de Coc and the Tijuana Donkey. They definitely receive an A for creativity in the names!

Z Tejas

If you’ve ever been to Z Tejas, you know that the Chambord Margaritas are so dangerously delicious and strong; guests are limited to just three per visit. Three is quite enough and if you haven’t tried one, I suggest you stop by…tonight.

Visit their website to find a location near you.

The Mission

This restaurant of Modern Latin Cuisine has the atmosphere to enjoy your cocktails either under the stars or in a mission restaurant inside. They even have a Tequila bar. It’s perfect for a date night or a night out with friends. During your quest for the Perfect Margarita, stop by and try out their Premarita Margarita.

Padres Modern Mexican

Nestled on Camelback Road in Phoenix, this restaurant has the trendy vibe and the food and cocktails to go with it. The owners split their time between Phoenix and Mexico so I’m sure they have some tasty tricks up their sleeves! Travel to their restaurant and try out the signature Padre’s Margarita to find out!

El Charro – a Tucson Treat

How serious are you about your journey to find the perfect Margarita? Why not take a drive to Tucson, Arizona and check out El Charro downtown. The minute you walk in, it feels like you’ve left the U.S. and entered a charming village in Mexico. While you wait for a seat, visit their authentic shop next door and browse some Mexican treasures for sale. It’s worth the drive and the wait. This restaurant may actually be the reason I became a University of Arizona Wildcat in the first place! Bear Down!!

Margarita’s on a Budget?

Why not make your own kitchen a Margarita Mayhem? For the best recipes I always turn to my favorite foodies in life, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. Here are some of their recipes to get you started:

Rachel Ray’s Grapefruit Margarita


1 quart ruby red grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed if available)

10 fresh mint leaves, torn in 1/2

2 shots orange liqueur

8 shots tequila

Preparation – Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir to combine. Pour over ice and serve. Serves 4.

Martha Stewart’s Blue Margarita


Coarse salt

1 lime, cut into wedges

4 ounces tequila

1 ounce Triple Sec

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ounces blue curacao

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Directions (Serves 2)

  1. Pour salt into a shallow dish large enough to fit the rim of the glasses you are using. Using 1 lime wedge for each glass, rub each rim. Dip rim in the plate of salt, and rotate gently to coat evenly. Place a lime wedge on each salted glass, and set aside.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Place tequila, Triple sec, lime juice, blue curacao, and sugar in shaker, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill prepared glasses with ice cubes. Strain the margarita into the glasses, and serve immediately.

Happy cocktail’ing in honor of National Margarita Day!

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