For Americans, the margarita remains the quintessential Mexican cocktail. But it’s no longer just tequila, triple sec, and lime. Bartenders around D.C. are finding new ways to tweak the classic formula, from substituting smoky mezcal for traditional tequila to playing with flavors like spicy chiles, prickly pear, and basil.
Margaritas are also enjoying a spike in popularity lately, thanks in part to newcomers including El Bebe and Buena Vida Clarendon. Old favorites continue to draw crowds as well. It’s hard to find a warm day where drink lovers aren’t pouring into Cactus Cantina or Guapo’s for pitchers of strawberry or lime margaritas, and bowls of chips and guacamole.
Whether they’re served in rainbow-colored swirls or on the rocks, here’s where to get a margarita fix whenever the mood strikes.
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