Memphis couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for Cinco de Mayo. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and on patios all over the city today, Memphians are ordering margaritas.
Today's post is mostly an updated guide to Memphis' favorite margaritas, but if you're looking to join the crowds today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I've also complied a list of Mexican/Tex-Mex restarutants that have appeared on this blog in the past:
Taqueria El Porvenir (taco truck spotted on Summer Ave.)
Las Delicias (East Memphis)
Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana (Germantown)
Emilio's Grocery (East Memphis)
Mi Pueblo (East Memphis)
La Michoacana (Summer Ave.)
Molly's La Casita (Midtown)
Taqueria La Guadalupana (Summer Ave.)
Tacos Borolas (East Memphis)
Elena's Taco Shop (Summer Ave.)
Swanky's Taco Shop (East Memphis/Germantown)
And now on to the margaritas.
Half and Half, $6.50, Molly's La Casita (2006 Madison Ave)
The half-and-half margarita is exactly what it sounds like: a glass filled with half frozen margarita and half rocks margarita. It's a neon-colored midtown classic, a margarita minus the brain freeze. It was hands-down the most popular answer on Facebook and Twitter when I asked for your favorite margaritas in the Memphis area. Molly's sells their La Casita Margaritas for $5 during Happy Hours, which include Mondays 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Tue. – Fri. 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Frozen Margarita, $4 for a small, El Toro Loco (2617 Poplar Avenue)
You can tell this one's going to be good because the restaurant has "crazy" in the name. The frozen margaritas from El Toro Loco are stealthily strong (and, in comparative testing, pack more of a wallop than the rocks version). They're big, sweet and perfect on the patio.
Margarona, $9, El Porton (65 South Highland Street)
A couple of people mentioned the Margarona, a variation on the margarita, so I headed to El Porton to try one. It's a huge blass of frozen margarita with a small Corona stuck upside down right in it – good for two or three people to share, in my opinion. The idea is that the beer seeps out into the margarita as you sip, creating a more mellow, less sweet flavor for the drink. Though the beer-to-margarita ratio was tricky to maintain, but it was good. Would be even better at the beach.
Frozen house margarita, $5.75, Swanky's Taco Shop (4770 Poplar Ave./6641 Poplar Ave.)
I've always found the margaritas at Swanky's to be tart, fresh, and not too sweet. While they're plenty strong, I wouldn't say they have pack the same punch as some of the super sweet sneaky ones on this list (and I don't mean that in a bad way). The frozen margaritas are viscous to the point that when they first arrive at the table, they almost remind me of frozen limeade. You can also get pitchers for $18 (about 5 drinks) and Swanky's offers two-for-one house margaritas on Tuesdays.
Frozen margarita, Las Delicias (4002 Park Avenue)
When I asked for recommendations for the best margaritas in Memphis, I got a ton of recommendations for Las Delicias on Park. Their margaritas are handmade with real limes, so there's none of the saccharine sweetness that tends to come with a pre-made mix. The end result is tart, refreshing and yes, strong.
Local Margarita, $10, Local Gastropub/Local on the Square (95 S. Main St./2126 Madison Ave.)
If you're looking for something a bit different, go with this artisan-cocktail version of a margarita at Local. They use 901 Tequila, fresh lime juice, sugar, and egg whites for a frothy, fancy texture.
Peach Margarita, Los Reyes (3024 Covington Pike)
Los Reyes' peach margaritas are the closest thing to a tequila slushie that you can get in north Memphis. If you're not a big tequila fan, this is the margarita for you – the booze's taste is masked by the sweet peach. The consistency is sort of like a classic convenience store slushie. It's another stealth strong version, though – after two or so, the paintings on the tables might start making sense.
There are still a few recommendations that folks gave me that I need to try, including El Mezcal, La Playita Mexicana on Macon Rd., Felicia Suzanne's, and La Hacienda in Cordova. Any more? Leave 'em in the comments and I'll keep them in mind!