The Quest to Find the Best Margarita in the World

September 17, 2013

best margarita in the world

I’m on a mission.

First, let me disclose right up front, when it comes to alcohol, I’m a lightweight.  I don’t drink very often, and when I do, it’s not very much.

I have one weakness, though.  Margaritas.

The margarita is a Mexican cocktail consisting of tequila mixed with lime juice and sometimes a bit of Cointreau, Triple Sec, or other orange-flavored liqueur.   It is traditionally served with salt on the rim of the glass. The drink is served shaken with ice (aka on the rocks) or a frozen, blended with ice.

I don’t know if it’s because I love the flavor of lime or because I put salt on just about everything (including green apples and grapefruit), but because this is one of the few drinks on my card, I’ve become somewhat of a margarita connoisseur.

I’m a purist, too.  Don’t even think of placing a strawberry or mango margie in front of me.  Nope, I want the original.  Why mess with perfection?

And forget about using those nauseatingly sweet pre-packaged mixes.  Blah!

I’ve added a public service to my world travels.  I’m going to find the best margarita in the world for you.  I’ve already made some progress, mostly because I’ve traveled to so many parts of Mexico as well as the Southwestern United States.

I’m not ready to declare a winner yet.  I need to do a lot more research.  But here are my top two… so far.

Front Runner

HUSSONG’s (Ensenada, Baja, Mexico)

Who would make a margarita better than the place where the margarita originated?  Hussong’s Cantina is the best known and oldest watering hole in Mexico and has a rich history of famous (and infamous) patrons, with décor reminiscent of old Mexico and “lively” atmosphere.  In 1941, bartender Don Carlis Orozoco invented the margarita here.  Serenaded by a mariachi band, your drink will be smacked down on your table in a small, plain water glass. But don’t be be fooled!  Hussong’s libations are high octane yet smooth going down.  The good news is that the margaritas are $3 each; the bad news is that you’ll be hard pressed to take advantage of the great price AND walk out on your own volition.

Runner Up

LA FONDA (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Decadent and delicious, this frozen version is addictive.  In Santa Fe’s oldest and best-known hotel, the La Fonda is in the historic heart of the city.  You can sample their signature margaritas listening to live music in the La Fiesta Lounge or amidst old world charm and hand-carved furniture in La Plazuela restaurant.  But better yet, at $12 each for these “Cadillac” beverages, go to the Bell Tower Bar on the rooftop and savor your drink while viewing a stunning sunset over the distant mountains.

It’s going to be hard to topple these two, but I owe it to the world to keep looking.  And tasting.

It’s a tough job, I know, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the public good.

The Best Margarita first published on Matador.

You may also like Santa Fe’s Tequila Tasting Tour

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