“If life gives you limes, make margaritas.” — Jimmy Buffett
There are few national holidays that have more delicious resonance in San Diego than National Margarita Day, held each year on Feb. 22. Blending the culinary fire of peppers, fruits and foodstuffs alongside the noble agave from our neighbors to the south, local restaurants and bartenders give us a gastronomic Pleasuredome of margarita options.
From spicy to fruity, and plenty of infused options in between, San Diegans have a plethora of margaritas to sample this year.
Not to be missed
Puesto: Debuting on National Margarita Day, the popular taco institution (which sold 145,000 margaritas last year) is unveiling a margarita cart to deliver freshly made cocktail pitchers tableside at The Headquarters location. Features of this mobile cart of wonder include Mexican hand-cranked juicers, butcher block tops, and a mesh canopy filled with fresh juicy limes and perfectly ripened seasonal fruit from Chino and other local farms. Custom made pitchers include seven to 10 freshly squeezed limes, fruits of the guests choosing, 12.5 oz. of tequila and 6.25 oz. of organic agave nectar. Be sure to ask about available tequila choices, including traditional and small production options.
789 W. Harbor Dr., Suite 155, downtown, 619.233.8880, eatpuesto.com
Coasterra: Don’t get too bombed on Feb. 22 so you will be able to meet up with 400-500 margarita comrades on Saturday, Feb. 23 for Coasterra’s Tequila Fest on Harbor Float. Along with a fair share of tequila and mezcal, executive chef Deborah Scott will be rolling out a variety of tacos and paella for hungry taste buds. Entertaining events include a blind tequila tasting challenge and margarita making competition. Get early bird tickets at $40 per person or purchase for $50 at the door. The event runs 1-4 p.m., and tickets include unlimited access to all food stations and tequila tastings.
Tickets are available here.
880 Harbor Island Dr., Harbor Island, 619.814.1300, https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/coasterra
Make it spicy, please...
Barbusa: An Italian joint isn’t the first place that comes to mind for great margaritas, but head to Little Italy for a little heat with Barbusa’s Inferno, crafted with Casa Noble Tequila, serrano, strawberry, lemon and a habanero-salted rim.
1917 India St., Little Italy, 619.238.1917, barbusa.com
Herb & Wood: Keep the temperature rising with the Heat & Jalisco, with tequila, grapefruit juice, red bell pepper syrup, lime and Firewater Bitters (made with habanero peppers).
2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.955.8495, herbandwood.com
Water Grill: Go green with the Margarita Verde crafted with silver tequila, cucumber, basil, jalapeño, agave, fresh lime and an ancho chile salted rim.
615 J St., downtown, 619.717.6992, watergrill.com
Bring on the juicy fruits
Bier Garden: Along with $8 Classic House Margaritas all day, juice up the holiday with the Blood Orange Margarita, with El Jimador Reposado, blood orange puree, orange liqueur, agave nectar and fresh lime.
641 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas, biergardenencinitas.com
Madison on Park: Bar manager Danny Kuehner brings in San Diego fruit for the Motor Bike with El Jimador blanco tequila, Aperol, local watermelon, ginger and lime.
4622 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.269.6566, madisononpark.com
Green Acre Campus Pointe: Bring all of the juiciness of a well-made sangria to the margarita with the Sassy Sangrita, a sweet and spicy blend of Arette Tequila, Cointreau Noir, and house-made “Sangrita.”
10300 Campus Point Dr., Torrey Pines, 858.450.9907, greenacresd.com/campus-pointe
The Blind Burro: Keep it slim and tropical with the 96 calorie Mango Tajin Skinny, including Milagro Silver, mango puree, lime, soda and a Tajín rim.
639 J St., downtown, 619.795.7880, theblindburro.com
Let the fusions flow
SEA180 Coastal Tavern: Enjoy the holiday beachside while sipping on the Spicy Mango Tango with jalapeño infused tequila, mango syrup, sweet and sour, and topped with fresh jalapeño slices. If you get there between 2:30 and 5 p.m. daily, you can also enjoy a $6 spicy pineapple margarita.
800 Seacoast Dr., Imperial Beach, (619) 631-4949, dinecrg.com
JRDN: Like a Mexican beach treat, the Chili Mango Margarita pleases with chili-infused Campo Azul Blanco tequila, house mix and mango.
723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.2323, t23hotel.com/jrdn
Hundred Proof: Make it hot and spicy with the TRUST #2 crafted with jalapeño-infused tequila, grapefruit, lime, agave and firewater bitters.
4130 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.501.6404, hundredproofsd.com
Upper East Bar: Dial up the heat another notch with the Spicy Cucumber Margarita with serrano chili infused tequila, cucumber, agave and lime.
616 J St, downtown, 619.531.8744, ihg.com/kimptonhotels/content/us/en/dine/upper-east-bar-san-diego-ca
Corner Drafthouse: Head to Bankers Hill for the Sugar and Spice Margarita with house-infused spicy tequila, fresh cranberries, fresh lime and agave. On Tuesdays, Corner offers $7 freshly squeezed margaritas.
495 Laurel St., Bankers Hill, 619.255.2631, thecornerdrafthouse.com
Amici’s Ristobar: Feel the tropics with the Coconut Margarita including infused 1800 Coconut tequila, Cointreau, toasted coconut, agave and lime.
5980 Village Way #B106, Carmel Valley, 858.847.2740, amicisristobar.com