Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
It’s not like anyone needs a good reason to drink tequila, right? But if you do, July 24 is the holiday for you: It’s National Tequila Day!
The origins of this particular holiday are unclear. Did someone once do the most body shots in history? Drink the biggest margarita every mixed? Who knows. I’ve decided the best way to celebrate is to take advantage of the increasingly good tequilas—and their close cousin mezcal—at the places that specialize in them.
Here’s a generous handful of them. Now, go celebrate National Tequila Day.
La Biblioteca - Denver, Colorado (@labibliotecaden)
Also known as “the library of tequila,” this new venture from the great chef Richard Sandoval boasts more than 350 types of agave spirits, namely tequila that ranges from blanco to añejo and even extra añejo. There’s also vertical tequila tastings and a vast selection of mezcal.
The extensive cocktail menu includes house-infused sipping tequilas (with flavors like cilantro, tamarind and blueberry-and-lemon), a killer house margarita and other specialties like the Cucumber Pepino (serrano-infused tequila, cucumber and citrus). Sandoval’s superior menu includes guacamole with smoked trout, and tacos stuffed with skirt steak, Wagyu and chorizo.
Mayahuel - New York City (@mayahuelny)
Specializing in agave-based spirits, this bar from the Death & Co. team doesn’t boast about how many different spirits they have—they concentrate on those that are made very well. In addition to mezcal and tequila flights, the bar serves amazing cocktails like the Red Baron (mezcal, red pepper, basil, lemon, absinthe and cayenne salt) and the Michelada de Tamarindo (blanco tequila, tamarind sangrita, lime, salt and beer). Meanwhile, chef Vincent Gonzalez serves house-made tamales and poblano-spiked queso fundido.
Jimmy’s; Jimmy’s Bodega - Aspen, Colorado (@JimmysAspenCO)
Believe it or not, one of the country’s great tequila bars is located up in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado. Owner Jimmy Yeager stocks 120-plus kinds of tequila and mezcal and makes margaritas like Jimmy’s (a reposado-based classic); the cranberry-and-mezcal Smokey; and the 21st Century, spiked with Don Julio 1942 that costs $30.
There’s also a lot of good tequila at Yeager’s newest spot, Jimmy’s Bodega, where the specialty is bottled cocktails like the Puerto de Aspen, a mix of blanco tequila, watermelon and lime.
L’Scorpion - Los Angeles (@lscorpionla)
The tequila selection is massive at both locations of this club-like bar (in Hollywood and West Hollywood). They also both offer cocktails like the silver tequila–based Scorpion margarita with cranberry and orange juice, and a tapas-inspired menu. You can reserve the private tasting rooms upstairs at the WeHo location for an annual fee–a nice, lower-cost alternative to the bottle service at nearby bars and clubs.
508 Tequila Bar - Austin, Texas (@bar_508)
Housed under a big shady tree on the back patio of one of Austin’s most beloved Tex-Mex restaurants, Pélon’s, 508 has an extensive menu of drinks including the Mexican Martini (blanco tequila, Patrón Citrónge and a splash of olive juice) and the Pelóns Fresca (tequila, St-Germain, mint, lime juice and soda). Of course, there are several types of margaritas. With margaritas go snacks: The nachos are loaded with refried beans, cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole.
Chayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar - Las Vegas, Nevada (@chayolv)
This massive new restaurant and tequila bar has two patios and a mechanical bull; it’s also got plenty of specialty tequilas and cocktails. The Puncho Villa features jalapeño-infused tequila along with watermelon, cucumber and mint. The upper patio also boasts great views of the newly opened High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world.
The Pastry War – Houston,Texas (@ThePastryWar)
This year-old project from agave expert Bobby Heugel (co-owner of the beloved Anvil Bar & Refuge) and Alba Huerta features a terrific selection of mezcal and tequila. I’m psyched because Heugel claims to be serving the best margarita he’s ever had, which is saying something. His secret: to mix in Persian limes with Key limes, which, as he told Houston’s Culture Map, is how Texas margaritas were originally made.
More from Food & Wine:
Best margaritas across the U.S.
11 Delicious Margarita Recipes
Modern Summer Cocktails
Cocktails for Grilling
27 Drinks to make this Summer
Frozen Drink Recipes
5 refreshing tequila drinks for summer
Classic tequila cocktails
Tequilas worth a shot (or sip)
How to make a perfect margarita
Where to get your tequila fix
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
getting a heinken & shot of gold!that was not the drink of a lady, a freek yeah, but no lady at that time.but man, this freek had herself a helluva good time!!(at least from what i remember)!!tequilla, thanx for the best!!
So, being from Mexico and also a fan of Tequila I have to say that THE best tequila, hands down, is Casa Dragones. Not sure if you can get in the US but look it up, that stuff is out of this world. Pricey, yeah but…quality comes at a cost. Lower tier but still very decent, try Reserva de la Familia and agree on Don Julio 1942.
Why is tequila sold here in 3/4 bottles? That same bottle is sold in Mexico in a full liter bottle, but stateside 1/4 magically disappears...quite sad :(
Still enjoyable....cheers :)
Take me drunk. I'm home!
Which one of these is the liver medicine?
El Camino in Delray Beach, Florida has an intense collection of Tequilas, some of the best infused Tequilas as well as the best selection of Mezcal I've ever see. The best Happy Hour and EXCELLENT Mexican Soul Food!
Pepe Lopez, nuf said.
If your tequila is patron, you're a amateur and please just go away. Gran Centenario Leyenda or Heradurra Selection
I was expecting at least one suggestion to be in – oh, I don't know – Mexico.
At one time there was a tequila bar in San Antonio by the name: Tequila Mockingbird and their logo was a bird wearing an old leather aviators cap and flying with a bottle of tequila tucked under one wing.
Go find a Champs record or a Ventures record.
That's the first and hopefully last time I've heard Pelon's referred to as "one of Austin's most beloved Tex-Mex restaurants."
Good tequila is like a good scotch, complex and drinkable neat, not to be taken as a shot or in a super sugary margarita. Milagro is NOT great tequila, unless great tequila is based on price for a fancy bottle. Try Clase Azul, a mass marketed although wonderful choice, or maybe Don Julio 1942, all a little more costly then swill, but reasonable non the less.
Try HERRADURA REPOSADO, very fine tequila
Agreed. Especially when chased with the Blood of the Angels.
If that is the one with the red top then yes I agree. That one is delicious. I currently have a bottle of Tequila El Charro Reposado. Not bad at all. But yeah Herradura is fantastic.
Cabo Wabo? Milagro? Crap and Crap.....Patron = Crap.....All major market garbage. Qui, Ocho, Fortaleza, and Paradiso. These are 4 REAL tequilla's. Sipping Tequilla's that taste like heavan. @James you need to get educated.
FYI you will not find these at BevMo, Total Wine, or in a local store. Maybe Paradiso that will cost you about $250 a bottle. I worked as a bartender in a popular L.A. latin place for years have tried many and after you drink the real stuff the over the counter stuff is not even close.
Thanks, man, but us mere mortals like to get our buzz on without taking out additional mortgages. Hornitos por todos! Viva tequila!
Yeah definitely don't want to borrow $ to purchase my libations. Someone mentioned Don Julio 1942 also pricey. Nothing wrong with Don Julio Anejo :)
Tequila makes my clothes fall off.....
It makes me dance on top of very large speakers.
Those weren't speakers darlin'. That was the bar top.
Nope, they were huge speakers at a club in Ybor. ~_~
Ahh......to have been there to see that! Looks like a fun town.
Cabo Wabo Tequila-best, hands down.
Clearly you have never had Milagro tequila, which is better. Get educated, son :P
I just had the Milagro resposado because it was recommended, did not like it at all. Maybe the blacno is better.
Milagro single barrel select anjeo. The family started off as glass makers but makes excellent tequila
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