Whether you take it in the form of a shot, a sip or swirled in a cocktail, tequila is one drink that can be enjoyed in many forms. And there are plenty of places around Los Angeles that are doing it right. From a deliciously fragrant cucumber lavender margarita at the newly opened Tortilla Republic to a full-on Tequila University at Ortega 120, here’s a quick hit list of where you can get tasty tequila cocktails around LA and OC.
Tortilla Republic – West Hollywood
This chic new spot on Robertson not only has delicious Mexican cuisine, but it’s also where you can find my new favorite tequila cocktail of the moment: the Cucumber Lavender margarita with housemade lavender syrup. It tastes as good as it looks.
Bar 1886 – Pasadena
There are many reasons why 1886 is a favorite among cocktail connoisseurs and mixologist Eder Campos is one of them. His first cocktail, the Xocalate is sure to be an 1886 classic with Reposado tequila, Italian vermouth, crème de cacao and a hint of Mexican mole bitters. $14.
Mercado – Santa Monica
This new modern Mex spot on 4th Street not only turns out some of the best Mexican food in the area, it’s also a can’t-miss for excellent cocktails. Make sure you try the Real Piña, a kicky mix of Real de Mexico silver tequila, muddled pineapple, cilantro and jalapeño. And don’t forget the weekday happy hour from 5pm to 7pm.
Sadie – Hollywood
This hot new spot in Hollywood has some of the tastiest, most artful food in town and the cocktails are no exception. One you shouldn’t miss is mixologist Giovanni Martinez’s Guayabera (named in homage to the “Mexican wedding shirt”), a perfect-for-the-summer blend of lemongrass and basil infused Avion tequila, watermelon syrup, lime juice, soda and a chili salt rim. $10.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar – Costa Mesa
Are you up to date on your shots? You will be if you head over to Mi Casa for their $15 tequila flights which give you a 10-ounce shot of blanco, reposado and anejo in your choice of Cazadores, Corralejo, Don Julio, Herradura, Partida or Patron. Just what the doctor ordered.
Pink Taco – Century City & West Hollywood
This rock & roll Mexican hangout has a great happy hour with half-off margaritas and well tequila drinks all day in addition to the regular Taco Tuesday specials. Think BOGO pitchers of the Pink Taco House Margarita and $8 Clase Azul margs that usually go for $21.
Bistango – Irvine
This arty dining destination is in the middle of OC office center purgatory, but that doesn’t keep people from coming for the delicious cocktails. Try the fruity concoctions like the Watermelon Refresher or Blueberry made with Tres Sietes tequila.
MB Post – Manhattan Beach
This bustling South Bay spot is where you can get fabulous food and delicious drinks like the Rayo Verde, a mix of Tru IXA organic tequila, fresh blackberry, lime and ginger. It’s like an adult version of your favorite snow cone. $12.
Rivera – Downtown LA
If you really want to get funky with your tequila, there’s no better place to do it than at Rivera, LA’s ground zero for unusually good drinks. If you feel like a little liquid BBQ, try the Barbacoa made with chipotle puree, red pepper and beef jerky. And while you’re at it, don’t leave without ordering the Donaji (made with your choice of tequila or mezcal) that’s rimmed with crushed grasshopper salt.
Ortega 120 – Redondo Beach
Wonder why the margaritas go down so smoothly at this Redondo Beach favorite? Because there’s no sweet & sour in the building. Tequila & Taco Tuesdays offer drink specials and $2 tacos. Ortega 120 is also the only place you can attend Tequila University, a monthly class that’ll school you in the subject. Finally, tuition well spent.
Avila’s El Ranchito – Multiple Locations
For a tasty way to cool off try the Watermelon Freeze Margarita at any of the Avila’s El Ranchito locations around SoCal. The family-owned chain serves up popular tequila drinks whether you’re in Huntington Park (the original) or Huntington Beach.