Writers / Rachel Q. & Chalene B.
While summer hasn’t officially arrived, there are plenty of things heating up in May, and Cinco de Mayo is one of our favorites! Whether you’re celebrating Mexican heritage on May 5 or just looking to get out of the house, we suggest celebrating the right way – feasting on Mexican food and washing it all down with a margarita…or two!
Since margaritas are one of Mexico’s most beloved exports as well as your Girls About Town’s favorite cocktail, we decided to go on a quest for the best margarita around these parts! Ever faithful to our journalistic responsibility, we sought out ideas from our Facebook community as to where we could find the perfect margarita! Our suggestions were vast and diverse, from hole-in-the-wall taquerías to national chains and everyone’s “own favorite homemade margarita” in between. We received too many suggestions for even us to tackle! Narrowing it down to the top favorites, we set out to discover what it takes to make the “perfect” margarita.
While the history of the original margarita might be blurry, three essential ingredients remain true to this extremely popular cocktail: tequila, triple sec (or any orange flavored liqueur) and fresh lime juice. But how much of each? We came to discover that the secret is in the proportions, and balancing those three makes the difference between a good and a bad margarita.
Let’s break it down:
As tequila is the base ingredient of the margarita, it’s wise to choose the best tequila you can, so look for the 100% de agave label on your bottle. If the label isn’t there, skip that tequila. Names like “gold” don’t make a difference though, as it’s just caramel coloring used to make the clear nature of tequila more appealing. Do look for reposado, which is generally a 100% agave tequila that’s been aged in oak barrels and gives the tequila a more mellow, less metallic taste to it.
You’ll need an orange flavored liqueur that helps balance out the tequila. So whether that’s triple sec which is made from the skins of oranges; Cointreau, a liqueur made from bitter and sweet orange skins and stronger in alcohol content; Grand Marnier, a brandy-based orange liqueur; or plain orange juice, the choice is yours! But choose well because we’re going for the perfect margarita here!
Whether it’s key limes or the plain variety from your local grocery store, fresh lime juice is key. Sour mix did not make the cut here, folks, so pick your limes and get to squeezing it fresh!
Between the two of us, we’ve sampled margaritas from over 15 different places around town…we take our job seriously! Our top picks?! Bakersfield Mass Ave., Adobo Grill, Delicia, Salty Cowboy and El Rodeo.
Bakersfield Mass Ave.
With its hyphy vibe and location, there’s not much to not like at Bakersfield! Get one of their delicious house concoctions, and you’ll be in margarita heaven. Served up in a fat Mason jar glass, these margaritas have a lot of bang for the buck and are worth a trip downtown. What did we like best about Bakersfield margaritas? They’re strong and long, so there you go!
With its authentic flair and tequila flights, this place is not to be missed! Belly up to the bar and get a lesson on tequilas while your extremely knowledgeable bartender serves up a fantastic house margarita. All the margaritas here are pretty fantastic and all authentic in origin. ¡Felicidades!
The thing about Delicia’s margaritas is much like bartender Brent Marshall describes…like pizza and steakhouses, everyone has their favorites! You’re guaranteed to find a favorite here! Delicia’s house margarita could go up against the best in town. Made with 100% blue agave tequila and a secret ingredient, we have to agree, they’re fantastico! For those of us living on the wild side, the Fire & Ice margarita is for you! Blended with a fire simple syrup of chiles and hibiscus, reposado tequila and a tres chiles ice ball surrounded with a chili pepper salted rim glass, it is hot, hot, hotttt! Chalene’s favorite!
Another margarita we really enjoyed was from a great new addition to the increasingly popular downtown Zionsville…the Salty Cowboy. The place is kitchy in this cute little house off Main Street. When you enjoy your margarita, make sure you order a side of guacamole. ¡Delicioso! Maybe even better than the margaritas and guac are the bartenders! They’ll take great care of you, and we seem to always get lucky enough to be there when Kyle and Calvin are working. They just add to the fun! Ummmm, the margaritas, as far as we remember, they were pretty good. Maybe even excellent? Hard to remember….sooooo many margaritas, so little time!
While there may be more exotic locales, the margaritas at El Rodeo really turned out to be our fav, well at least Rachel’s! Their mix is the perfect blend with just a touch of sweetness. Not to mention, you can get them in some REALLY grande glasses!!! That doesn’t hurt. Also we are here to inform…the way you pronounce the name of this restaurant is El Ro-day-O. We checked with the owners, so now we know!
So Happy Cinco de Mayo, amigos! Get some awesome tequila and mix up your own margaritas or get out on the town and try one of our picks! Let us know your fav! As always, ¡SALUD!