There is just something about the margarita on a hot day. Arguably the most popular unofficial drink of summer, this refreshing cocktail is a combination of citrus and tequila with a hint of salt. It hits the spot when the sun is as explosive as it has been recently. Sure, our recent heatwave is over (for now), but the next time Mr. Sunshine comes out to play, we want to let you know where you can run for some inner shade. Whose rita beats the heat as well as its competition?
1420 12th Ave., 588-8105
It's not often you find a margarita full of life and flavor. Barrio's version, simply labeled margarita on the menu, is a $9 concoction of El Jimador Reposado tequila, lime, agave nectar and Quady Essensia. Don't recognize that last ingredient? It's not something you often find in a margarita. Essensia is a moderately sweet dessert wine made from orange muscat grapes that's produced at Quady Winery in Madera, CA. This margarita works best if you take in some salt with your sips and let the ice cubes melt a bit before knocking back. This cocktail has something special going on.
5431 Ballard Ave. N.W., 782-8722
You can't go wrong with the margaritas at La Carta, especially if you like citrus. The Margarita Sauza ($8) is a refreshing mix of Sauza Silver tequila, Triple Sec, lime and sour. Those last two ingredients sort of overpowered our margarita. Not that it was bad, it just made us pucker more than we wanted to. More balanced ingredients would have done the trick.
We give kudos to bartenders at both Barrio and La Carta de Oaxaca for being bold enough to let the liquor do the talking. Often, margaritas can go from 'hot quencher' to 'hot mess' with too much mixer and lime. Both Barrio and La Carta used a good amount of tequila in their margaritas which made us feel like we were actually drinking an adult beverage rather than Kool-Aid. Barrio's margarita takes this match, simply because it was more complex and the flavors really shone through. Who couldn't use a little more shine in Seattle?