The Absolute Best Margaritas In The US

Salud! The mighty margarita is one of America's favorite drinks, a summertime fave, and a happy hour classic. According to Nielsen, Americans are comfortable paying more for these tart, tangy, and salty beauties than virtually any other mixed drink. Although every bartender puts their own classic spin on the drink, there are a few things that separate your average margaritas from the truly stellar ones.

For example, if you're blending up a batch at home, you will need a high-quality tequila for that clean taste and a smooth, refreshing finish. There are also ways that you can up your margarita game with fresh lime juice and even orange juice, a simple ingredient that you're likely to have in your kitchen already. 

Although you can certainly whip up a mean marg in your own kitchen or bar, sometimes it's better to leave the cocktail alchemy to the experts, especially if you're in the mood for a new flavor profile. The margaritas we've selected as the best in the country combine style, taste, finesse, and creativity for a sippable sensation that you won't soon forget.

Mariano's Hacienda: Tickled Pink - Dallas

This rosy-hued margarita from Mariano's Hacienda in Dallas, Texas, is a tasty spin on a classic drink. Meet the Tickled Pink margarita, a delicate balance of Herradura Reposado, lime juice, and Chambord. The Herradura Reposado and lime juice give it that familiar margarita flavor, and the Chambord injects a little raspberry sweetness to the mix. The result is a cleverly familiar but still fresh cocktail that looks absolutely stunning served on the rocks in a tall glass. Top it with a salted rim and a lemon slice, and you're good to go.

Although this drink may look pretty in pink, don't let it fool you. The bartenders at Mariano's Hacienda tend to be pretty generous with their pours, and this one packs a punch. Mariano's Hacienda also serves up more traditional margaritas and mixed drinks, and this Lone Star State gem has plenty of traditional Tex-Mex food to go along with your libations.

Secreto Lounge: Smoked Sage Margarita - Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico's Secreto Lounge specializes in "garden to glass" cocktails. As the name might suggest, this means that their cocktails are jam-packed with fresh ingredients, local fruits and vegetables, and artisan liquors. Although you would have a hard time finding something that's not delicious on their innovative menu, the margaritas are truly the stars of the show.

Secreto Lounge's mixologists understand the importance of working with genuinely stellar ingredients and techniques, which is why their Smoked Sage Margarita is so impeccable. It starts with Azunia Reposado mixed with orange liqueur and lime juice. The orange liqueur and premium tequila give the drink depth, but what really takes it to the next level is the smoked sage. There are layers upon layers of flavor in this drink, but nothing is ever overpowering. Instead, it's big and robust while still maintaining a perfect balance of its ingredients.

Tico: Hibiscus Margarita - Washington, D.C.

Who would have thought that one of the best tropical margs on the planet would come from Washington, D.C.? TICO's vibrantly-hued Hibiscus Margarita is a gorgeous little sip that might just transport you straight to the islands. It gets its kick from premium Milagro Blanco blue agave tequila and plenty of orange liqueur, which strikes a good balancing act with the hibiscus. The result has just the right amount of citrus and is not too floral. It's flavor-forward and unexpected, but familiar at the same time.

If you're in the mood for more than one, TICO has plenty of other more conventional margaritas on its menu, along with plenty of high-end fusion favorites like tacos, loaded nachos, and their enormous TICO burritos. So next time you find yourself in or around our nation's capital, make sure to check out TICO for expert mixology and some downright delicious food.

Barrio: Papillon Margarita - Seattle

While people flock to Barrio Kitchen and Agave Bar for its supersized plates of loaded nachos and rockin' happy hours, there is one menu item that you can't miss while you're there: the Papillon Margarita. This Seattle, Washington restaurant is no stranger to inspired drinks. The entire cocktail menu is full of new twists on old classics, as well as some pretty good renditions of traditional cocktails themselves. Still, the Papillon Margarita stands out for balancing classic marg flavors with new and exciting twists.

It's made with mezcal instead of tequila, which lends the drink a more nuanced flavor. Add in Cointreau, lime, artisan salt, and a touch of hibiscus, and you have a beautiful beverage that boldly riffs on the classic while still staying true to form. The combination of potent mezcal and heavy pours makes this deceptively lovely drink a heavy-hitter and one that will make your happy hour that much more enjoyable.

Pepe Osaka's Fishtaco Tequila Bar and Grill: Margarita Azul - Winter Park, Colorado

The name "Pepe Osaka's Fishtaco Tequila Bar and Grill" might tip you off that this particular Winter Park, Colorado, establishment is more than just your run-of-the-mill taqueria. It specializes in Asian-Latin fusion, leading to some pretty exciting food and drink combinations. If you've never experienced the joy of sampling a plate of sushi with a tart and tasty margarita, Pepe Osaka's Fishtaco Tequila Bar and Grill is waiting to open up a whole new world.

One of their flagship margs is the Margarita Azul, named for its bright blue color. The Margarita Azul gets its vivacious hue from a heavy pour of Blue Curaçao, which also lends a tart and tangy flavor to the drink. Like many great margaritas, the Margarita Azul's punch comes from agave silver tequila, and the double tall portions make it a true celebration in a glass.

Tamayo: Traditional Margarita - Denver

Sometimes, the classics are best, which is why Tamayo's Traditional Margarita is a good pick for those who are craving a classic taste with no bells and whistles. The secret to this Denver, Colorado, eatery's success are fresh ingredients mixed in exact portions. Nothing is too overpowering, and it all works together to deliver that ideal margarita taste. The Traditional Margarita has just three components: premium silver tequila, agave, and citrus juice. You can get it straight up, on ice, or frozen.

You can also enjoy your Traditional Margarita at Tamayo's restaurant or take it to go. If you're in the mood for something a little bit more adventurous, check out the Tamayo Margarita. This drink uses the same recipe but with tamarind puree for an extra sour kick and a new flavor dimension. There's also plenty of other traditional and contemporary cocktails on the menu at Tamayo. 

Hugo's: Hugo Rita - Houston

Head to Houston, Texas, for Hugo's Hugo Rita, a marg with big, bold flavors befitting of the Lone Star State. This sprawling Mexican restaurant is a haven for tequila lovers and drink connoisseurs of all stripes. Not only does Hugo's have a massive selection of premium tequilas and mezcals, but it also knows how to use them to prepare great margaritas and palomas. Their servers shake up your drink tableside, mixing presentation and flair, and giving you the freshest-made drink possible.

Although there are some more creative options on the menu, the Hugo Rita is a simple, elegant drink. It's just tequila, agave, Triple Sec, and a touch of lime topped off with a salt rim. So you'll get citrus, salt, and the slow burn of tequila in every sip. It's one of the best examples of true margarita craft on our list and an excellent vehicle for showing off these top-notch ingredients.

Juan's Flaming Fajitas & Cantina: Manuel's Margarita - Las Vegas

There's no shortage of decadence in Sin City, and Juan's Flaming Fajitas & Cantina is no exception. This beloved Vegas eatery serves up classic Mexican comfort food favorites like enchiladas, carnitas, and fajitas. With big portions and bold, bright flavors, it's hard to go wrong with anything on the menu at Juan's Flaming Fajitas & Cantina. While the food is one side of the taste coin, drinks are the other. Stop in for happy hour to sample some of the best margaritas in the great state of Nevada.

Manuel's Margarita is a stand-out option, made with your choice of premium tequila, a little citrus juice, and some agave. What takes it to the next level is the bit of Grand Marnier that Juan's bartenders float on the top. This simple extra touch lends a bit more orange and the tiniest taste of vanilla and oak to the drink.

Big Star Chicago: Spicy Margarita - Chicago

Big Star is putting Chicago, Illinois, on the map for something other than bone-chilling winters and deep dish pizza. Their concept is simple: great food, country music, and fantastic tequila and whiskey-based drinks to wash it all down with. With a comfortable vibe and friendly staff, Big Star offers a high-end experience in a welcoming atmosphere where you feel free to put your feet up ... although, perhaps not literally.

Big Star also has something special for those who like a little heat in their libations. The Spicy Margarita is a fiery mix of premium tequila, Orange Curaçao, and lime with just the right amount of kick to wash down a plate of yummy tacos. Even better, you can get it party-sized in a pitcher made for sharing amongst family and friends. If you're going solo, there's a single drink option available too. Top your marg with a mezcal float for an extra celebration.

Curra's Grill: Avocado Margarita - Austin

According to Austin Monthly, savvy at-home bartenders and amateur mixologists can whip up Curra's Grill's Avocado Margarita at home, but if you want a taste of the authentic thing, stop on in to the friendly Texas-based establishment. Curra's trendsetting marg has been copied, but never perfected, all over the country. It combines two Tex-Mex faves: a tangy and citrus-forward margarita and the cool taste of fresh avocado.

The result is a silky drink with a perfect balance of lime and avocado. Since their mixologists blend the avocado at the end, the concoction is totally fresh and made-to-order. Their bartenders also add in just the slightest hit of cilantro to elevate the drink and give it a fresh, herbaceous finish. Top the whole thing off with a lime wedge and a generously salted rim, and you have the iconic beverage that put Curra's Grill on the map.

Lone Star Taco Bar: Frozen Margarita - Boston

The great city of Boston, Massachusetts, boasts a local gem with locations in Allston and Cambridge. Lone Star Taco Bar is a hometown favorite with excellent food, tons of craft beers, and some of the best margaritas this side of the border. Although they keep their margarita recipe close to the vest, all the expected elements are there. You taste tartness, the smooth burn of tequila, and just a little sweetness in every sip. Although you're welcome to get your margarita on the rocks, we recommend that you go for the Frozen Margarita.

Lone Star Taco Bar's Frozen Margaritas are silky smooth, with every drop of ice and liquid infused with premium tequila and orange liqueur. Plus, the presentation is excellent. They come in rocks glasses, crowned with a salt rim and a wedge of lime so that you can customize your citrus level if you want. It's minimalism and skill at its best, and it's downright tasty.

Macayo's: Margarita Flight - Mesa, Arizona

Why have one margarita when you can have four? That's the logic behind Macayo's petite but perfect flight of margaritas. This Mesa, Arizona, local favorite serves up fun spins on traditional Mexican favorites, alongside some great drinks and craft beers. If you can't decide which margarita to get — and who could blame you — opt for the Margarita Flight and choose from the house, wildberry, apple, strawberry, mango, prickly pear, peach, or raspberry margaritas.

The presentation is stunning, with jewel-toned margs all lined up for your consumption, but it's not just looks that will blow you away. Macayo's margaritas are fresh, full of flavor, and made with only premium ingredients. The prickly pear is exceptional, with a juicy, nuanced flavor profile that makes an excellent vehicle for tequila and lime. Their mango one is great too, and you can't go wrong with the traditional house margarita.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana: Mezcal Margarita - Washington, D.C.

Oyamel is another D.C. destination that serves some excellent Mexican food in the nation's capital. As with most of the margs on our list, their drinks make the cut because they are made with classic ingredients with special care to balance the flavors perfectly. There's another reason why Oyamel stands out, though. You can enjoy their margaritas in-house or take them to go, and once you taste their Mezcal Margarita, you'll want to have access to it anywhere.

Oyamel's classic Mezcal Margarita is a combination of El Silencio mezcal, fresh lime, and Combier L'Original. Although it's not explicitly listed on the menu, you can order it by simply upgrading your Classic Margarita to a Mezcal one. If you've never tried a libation made with mezcal, you're in for a real treat. The mezcal adds several more dimensions of flavor to the drink and plays nice with the lime and salt. Delicious!