KUSA – Look, if you live life to the fullest, there’s no reason why every day isn’t National Margarita Day.
But Feb. 22 is actually National Margarita Day – and you might as well celebrate!
Three members of the 9NEWS web team put together this list of our favorite margaritas in the Denver metro area. Obviously, this list is neither comprehensive nor definitive, so feel free to list your favorite margaritas in the comments.
Have a good day wastin' away in Margaritaville ...
Margarita recommendations from 9NEWS Interactive Media Producer Kelly Jensen
El Camino: El Camino Community Tavern has great margaritas and even better chips and queso. Sitting smack dab in the Highlands along West 32nd Avenue, this place gets packed quickly on the weekends, and heck, even most weekdays, but it's worth the wait. Margaritas are strong, not too sweet, and there are plenty of varieties (including traditional brunch beverages like the michelada (Tecate, Sangria, and lime juice). Served in a funky, casual-hip environment it's perfect to take your hipster friends to when they're not drinking craft beer.
Pinche Tacos: Funky and delicious margaritas are their specialty. The small taco shop in the Highlands (or with a second City Park location) is an intimate and hip place to meet up with friends or take a date for a margarita and some tacos (because nothing says love and romance like tacos). Signature Margs boast Casa Noble Tequila, Cointreau and lime, and the subtly-spicy Serrano Marg is a must-try for the adventurous (take it from the girl who thinks medium wings are too spicy, it's delicious). Want to create your own? Their tequila selection is HUGE! Drinks like the Jalisco Donkey Show and The Point (Cinnamon Liqueur made in-house, lemon, and ginger beer) are funky, fresh and creative. Tacos are delicious. What more could you ask for? Expect a wait for a table on the weekends.
Efrain's (Boulder): Located in North Boulder (or Longmont and Lafayette), this no-frills Mexican eatery may not look like much from the outside, but once your margarita is set in front of you and you've had a sip, you'll understand why it's on this list. Served in mason jars and unusually strong, Efrain's margaritas are best shared with friends or family over some cheesy chile enchiladas or chips and salsa. There's a whole menu to choose from, from the Pink Cadillac (with a splash of cranberry) and The 1942, made with Don Julio 1942 Anejo Tequila and Cointreau. The spot is family-friendly and super casual, but always busy. We bet you won't mind if there's a wait in the evening as long as you grab a marg while you're waiting on your table.
Margarita recommendations from 9NEWS Interactive Media Producer Amanda Kesting
Mezcal: This East Colfax destination has more options than you'll know what to do with. With 270 varieties of tequilas and mezcals, it will impressive even the snobbiest of drinkers. Their margarita menu includes spicy options (like one with ancho chile liqueur and muddled serrano peppers as well as one with blueberry shrub, chipotle agave and serrano peppers), smoky margs (think lots of mezcal) and unique fruit blends (with things like blood orange, creme de cassis, charred pineapple). Or stick with a classic house margarita for just $5 during Happy Hour.
La Biblioteca: Who needs books when you have shelves filled with tequila? Their margarita menu is filled with delicious and unique combinations, most of which feature their signature infused tequilas. And every tequila on their shelves is 100 percent agave, so you know whatever you order will be quality. And forget just munching on chips and salsa or nachos with your drink, La Biblioteca serves Asian-Mexican fusion (think Korean-glazed chicken wings, crab guacamole, tempura tacos) and their happy hour often features sushi from next-door neighbor Zenga since the two restaurants share a kitchen.
Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina: You don't need to skimp on quality to get a good deal. The restaurant on South Broadway features a house margarita, made with Agavales tequila and fresh lime juice, that's only $5. Or stop in on a Monday for two-for-one margs all night. You can't go wrong with an order of chips and salsa to nosh on while you drink. The chips are house made and you get three salsas with each order: classic, avocado crema, and tomatillo.
Margarita recommendations from 9NEWS Digital Producer Allison Sylte (who clearly doesn't get out much)
Chili's: Before you judge, I have a few magical words: Happy hour all the time. And for those of you not well-versed in the Chili's language, this means 2-for-1 margaritas ... ALL THE TIME. Sure, I guess you can pay more at a place that's not a chain restaurant. But do you really want to? Because in addition to a very respectable -- nay, great -- margarita, you can get finery such as the UNLIMITED chips and salsa (um ... hello!), the quesadilla explosion salad (for when you want to appear dainty and order a salad but really are just getting a bowl of cheese with a small amount of lettuce) and southwestern eggrolls/chicken crispers. Because National Margarita Day is about more than margaritas. It's about enjoying the finer things in life. Enter: Chili's.
Applebee's: Perhaps on this National Margarita Day you feel like sticking closer to America. And what's more American than ordering a margarita at Applebee's (other than the bald eagle, NASCAR or using phrases like "this is America")? There are four margaritas on the Applebee's menu: The basic strawberry lime and blue agave margaritas, the more adventurous and (dare I say) spicy mango jalapeno 'rita, and finally, the perfect margarita. With a name like that, you know it's damn good. And given that it's from Applebee's, you know it's dependable -- and also features an olive (what a curveball!). Since this is Applebee's, happy hour means $4 margaritas -- so have at it (and maybe call an Uber!)!
Olive Garden: National Margarita Day does not discriminate. It does not judge. And even though you might associate the margarita with Mexican food, in the very spirit of this divine holiday, that doesn't need to be the case. And so I present to you the subtly named Italian Margarita. Like everything else at a place once trashed by Anthony Bourdain (perhaps his only flaw), this $7.50 glass of paradise is elegant and understated. Composed by what I assume is an angel, this cocktail includes El Jimador Silver 100 percent blue agave tequila (take that, non-chain restaurants!), triple sec and amaretto. It's the perfect companion to the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks combo, as well as great conversation with friends who also enjoy the Olive Garden (and if you have friends that don't enjoy the Olive Garden, reassess their status as "friends" ... unless they're Anthony Bourdain).
Since this is important, here's the link to the only Olive Garden review you'll ever need: http://bit.ly/24mDB0Z
ADDENDUM: Look, we know getting a margarita at the Rio is part of being a Colorado citizen (yes, we said citizen, not resident). And many of you know about the Rio, which is why it wasn't included in this list. But yes, they have a great margarita! And a three-margarita limit that had many of us saying (in college, at least) "Challenge accepted!"
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