Margaritas and mezcal? Tequila and tank tops? It's Cinco de Mayo in San Diego and there is no place better to celebrate the festivities. From smoky to spicy with loads of flavors in between, here's where to go this Cinco for the best (and most interesting) cocktails.
Ready to try an insect lollipop? Lead bartender Jade Boyd pushed the boundaries with the A.K.A. Silvestre cocktail crafted with Los Javis mezcal, sweet vermouth, ginger, grapefruit, lemon, mole bitters and wait for it... a scorpion lollipop. For those up not for the dare, go with the Pina Coquito, an easy-drinking and festive offering with Milagro reposado tequila, coconut pineapple cordial, lime, and a dusting of hibiscus powder.
1047 Fifth Ave. (at Hotel Palomar), downtown, curadero.com
Craft & Commerce
Depending on how you translate it, the Conejo cocktail could mean "rabbit," "biceps," the name of a Mexican rapper, or, ahem, a particular body part. Whichever way you take it, the smoky and spicy cocktail is sure to be a conversation starter, with mezcal, curacao, carrot juice, pineapple, lime and green coconut curry powder.
675 W. Beech St., Little Italy, craft-commerce.com
Ready for an entire cocktail menu to turn Cinco? Tequila and mezcal lovers rejoice as Beverage Director Steven Tuttle has refabbed the selections and priced them at $10 (¡salud!). Some of the choices include Es Una Fresca with mezcal and strawberry soda; Verde Michelada with Ancho Reyes Verde poblano chile liqueur; and Rich Man's Margarita, crafted with Kettner Exchange's Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, hand selected by Tuttle in Guadalajara.
2001 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, kettnerexchange.com
Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen
To pay homage to the home of mezcal, try the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, an interesting Cinco-inspired twist on the classic cocktail crafted with Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, white cacao liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and Angostura Orange Bitters.
2137 Pacific Hwy., Little Italy, pacificstandardrestaurant.com
The Pony Room
Go luxurious this Cinco and treat yourself to a tequila tour with 100+ tequilas to choose from or try two specialty cocktails from mixologist Ted Gibson. In La Piñata, fruit, spice and smoke mingle effortlessly with charred pineapple mezcal, serrano-infused tequila, lime, cilantro, salt and pepper. The Juan Y Appleseed is an elegant and refined Cinco specialty, with Kimo Sabe Joven mezcal, calvados, lemon, honey, ginger and rosemary.
5921 Valencia Circle (at Rancho Valencia Resort), Rancho Santa Fe, ranchovalencia.com/dining/san-diego-area-restaurant-bar
Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
Careful where your social media fingers go whilst drinking The Stalker cocktail with jalapeno-infused tequila, lime, celery syrup and smoked salt. That goes for over-texting too.
2202 Fourth Ave., Bankers Hill, bankershillsd.com
Get your smoke and spice on with Thee Barnacle, created by Snake Oil Cocktail Company and made with Milagro tequila, cayenne infusion, pressed grapefruit and lemon, agave nectar and topped with smoked sea salt.
Del Sur Mexican Cantina
The Smokey Pina is made with Xicaru mezcal (which means "beautiful" in Zapotec), pineapple, poblano syrup and lime - a Cinco tribute that is served with charred pineapple to munch on.
2310 30th St., South Park, delsurmexicancantina.com
Gaze out at the Pacific Ocean with a Chile Mango Margarita cocktail in hand. It is made with
chili-infused tequila (never fear, it's a medium heat), mango syrup, and fresh house mix, with a Tajin rim.
723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, t23hotel.com/jrdn
Pacifica Del Mar
Those looking for Cinco deals will love the Ocean Bar's offerings of their PDM Fresh Margarita, Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita and Miracle Margarita, for a affordable $8 all day Cinco.
1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, pacificadelmar.com
Soda & Swine Liberty Station
Going as the Designated Driver this Cinco? Head to Soda & Swine Liberty Station, where your drinking friends can sample Tequila Ocho with shots of sangrita on the patio, while you treat yourself to a Mexican Chocolate Milkshake. This well-deserved booze-free indulgence contains Mexican chocolate, cayenne pepper, whipped cream, grated chocolate, and homemade churros.
2750 Dewey Rd., #104, Liberty Station, sodaandswine.com
As if you needed 34 more reasons to swig some tequila on Cinco de Mayo, PACIFIC's Margarita Month is in full force with bars and restaurants putting their own signature on the popular drink. For a full list of participating locations, visit MargaritaMonth.com and don't forget to snap a picture and use #margaritamonth for a chance to win some great prizes.