Celebrating Cinco de Mayo satisfies any South-of-the-Border craving, but why reserve the the best margaritas in NYC for just one day? It's always time for tequila, especially when swirled with zippy lime and a hit of triple sec. Spend some time at the city's best Mexican restaurants for some serious agave spirits and the city's best tacos and guacamole. But for a few rounds of margaritas, these shake-ups are your best bet.
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Best margaritas in NYC
A slow and steady spice from house-infused jalapeño tequila gives this glass quite the kick, but lip-puckering lime makes it more fresh than fiery. And though you'd think mescal was giving its agave cousin some help, that craveable smoldering comes courtesy of chipotle-speckled salt around the rim.
Drinks maven Lynnette Marrero (Rye House, Flatiron Lounge) doubles down on the booze in her 'rita rendition, shaking smoky mescal with blanco tequila and enough mint to give it a crisp, clean finish. And she doesn't skimp on the smoked salt around its edge: A double-wide dose on one side is perfect for salt haters and lovers alike.
Hibiscus-tinged lime juice is a sweet-tart introduction to this quaff, but the surprisingly spicy rim of hibiscus-and-chili–flecked salt, plus the generous pour of tequila, bring it to the big leagues: from fruity and floral to a true heavy hitter. Trust us: Order a second round for the fun flavor and the killer buzz.
This silky number is inspired by the islands, loading up with summery classics like milky coconut and banana liquor. But the cloying potential is cut with a hot hit of chili salt and orange bitters, so you can easily sip a few in one session as if you're in the tropics.
It’s all about the agave at Mesa Coyoacan, Williamsburg’s warm and rustic tribute to authentic Mexican food and drink. A loyal set of neighborhood hipsters and visiting Manhattanites flock to this sunlit Graham Avenue cantina to gorge on expertly prepared, overstuffed tacos and a huge selection of margaritas made with house-infused premium tequila, muddled fruits and fresh juices. While the classic lime version is sure to do the trick, we recommend mixing things up a bit with Mesa Coyoacan’s bolder variations flavored with slow-burning grapefruit-habanero, lush, tart tamarind or unapologetically radiant watermelon.
Living up to its name, this head-scratching marg breaks tradition and makes you ask, "Why not?" The serrano chili gets a little lost underneath a veil of pineapple puree, and it seems disappointing at first, but you'll welcome the quelling once the savory, herbal cilantro comes into play.
This gorgeously outfitted Midtown gem, hidden away in the basement of renowned Latin-Asian fusion joint Zengo, specializes in tequila—and lots of it. With 400 handpicked bottles along with a designated tequila sommelier to help guide your experience, students of the almighty agave have their work cut out for them at this liquor-fueled Latin library. To start, try the house-recommended Zengo Margarita, a spicy-sweet blend of Rancho Alegre Blanco tequila, blood orange, fiery serrano peppers, citrus and cooling cilantro, then move on to one of the many tequila flights as your studies advance.
The newest addition to Church Avenue’s relatively quiet commercial strip, this Oaxaca-influenced cantina is the mescal bar Kensington didn’t even know it needed. Though the decor evokes simple Old World charm (think: Spanish tiles, mounted flamenco guitars, mismatched tables), the hand-scrawled drink menu is anything but, offering a range of inventive mescal cocktails as well as several tequila-based margaritas to ease you into the smokier stuff. The smoothly balanced Spicy Raspberry Margarita—made with juicy fresh fruit and none of that neon-magenta stuff—stands in as a formidable gateway tipple.
Elaborate chandeliers, a brick-lined, blue-lit bar and 100 different types of tequila set the stage at Añejo, Top Chef fan favorite Angelo Sosa’s stylish Mexican outpost. Adventurous imbibers would do well to sample the Mexican Firing Squad, an intoxicating blend of peppery Tapatio Reposado tequila, grenadine and fresh lime juice, finished with a spiced salt rim that acts like a fiesta for your taste buds. Don’t let the brutal name scare you away—this sipper is as refreshing as it is aggressive, making it an ideal companion to Añejo’s dangerously succulent short rib tacos.
An upscale Australian joint smack-dab in the middle of the Upper West Side might seem like a strange choice for this list, but one swig of Burke & Wills' cheekily titled Bushfire Margarita definitively cements its inclusion. Organic Del Maguey Mezcal Vida mingles with orange bitters, tart lime juice and soothing agave in this surprisingly mellow, lightly smoked Down Under version of the Mexican staple. Try pairing yours with an order of kangaroo pie for the ultimate Aussie experience.