The end result of our quest for the perfect margarita? You can tell a difference. But you have to be willing to cough up the extra $4 for the top shelf stuff, with a floater none-the-less.
You also have to figure out what kind of person you are.
Are you someone you just wants to get the job done, regardless of flavor (plus you can’t really tell anyway)? Head to Papa Juans.
You like going out on a limb, trying something new, and throwing caution to the wind? Pineapple with black pepper from Brothers in Iowa City.
Or you appreciate all-natural ingredients, the smaller things in life? Try the offering at the Trumpet Blossom Cafe.
Moose McDuffy’s deserves a shout out for the most unexpected place to find a fabulous margarita. Plus, it’s served in the shaker and is really two margs for the price of one.
Los Portales gets the people’s choice award. EVERYONE says they are amazing it.
And of course Hacienda is a popular choice.
At Fiesta del Sol the hard, crunchy chips that were not a good compliment to the margs, but the Lime on the Rocks was a little light on the salted rim but good. The blended strawberry was slightly sweet, a little tart, and almost bubble gum-my, without being too overpowering, and the rim was a sugar/salt mix which threw me off.
Downtown Jerseys: The mix was salty, but had big, flakey salt pieces.
Personally, none of the margaritas I tasted made me want to jump back on the margarita bandwagon. But there’s no way in hell I’m missing out on an opportunity to eat Mexican food, so if you don’t swoon for margaritas also, take this route instead. One option: Horchata with rum shots. Horchata, a sweet rice water that will remind you of cinnamon-sugar milk is the perfect vessel for shots of rum. Or, a michelada. Michelada, rimmed with a blend of salt and cayenne pepper, is usually a housemade recipe of lime juice, tomato juice and an assortment of spices, topped with your choice of beer. If you head to La Camelia, you can sometimes find both options, with the beer snuggled upside-down in your Michelada.