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New York’s Top-Shelf Margaritas

blood-orange-margarita-recipe-3-2It definitely feels strange to be talking about frosty drinks in February, but believe it or not, today is National Margarita Day.  So get a serious headstart on Cinco de Mayo, by celebrating ‘Febrero Veintidós’ in style, with tequila-based drinks from Empellon Al PAstor, El Toro Blanco, Gran Electrica and more…

Empellon Al Pastor

Empellon Al Pastor
132 St Marks Pl
West Village,New York 10009
(646) 833-7039

To complement his menu of spit-roasted pork-filled tacos, Alex Stupak has assembled a series of Micheladas, Highballs and Margaritas, from Classic, Spicy Cucumber and Strawberry, to smoked salt-rimmed Mezcal and the “Porque No;” featuring Espolon Blanco, fresh pineapple, Serrano chile and cilantro.

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Javelina

Javelina
119 E 18th St
Gramercy,New York 10003
(212) 539-0202

Now that the insane opening buzz has died down, you should have a much easier time snagging a table at Tex-Mex hub, Javelina, to gorge on gloppy Queso, Puffy Tacos and inventive Avocado Margaritas, a frozen concoction of the creamy green fruit, sweetened with agave syrup and speckled with verdant leaves of cilantro.

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El Toro Blanco

El Toro Blanco
257 6th Avenue
West Village,New York 10014
(212) 645-0193

John McDonald and Josh Capon’s rollicking Mexican restaurant and tequila bar boasts a mammoth menu of Tacos, Ceviches, Bocaditos (small bites) and grilled meats, with a massive roster of spirits and cocktails to match, including no less than eight different kinds of margarita, such as Frozen Raspberry, Chile-Rubbed Mango, Pomegranate-Sage and “La Casa Blanca;” made with casamigas reposado, grand marnier and lime.

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Fonda

Fonda
434 7th Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11215
(718) 369-3144

Whether you choose to dine in the East Village, Park Slope and Chelsea, every branch of Fonda boasts Roberto Santibanez’s signature stamp; we’re talking refined, yet utterly authentic specials, like Braised Duck Zarapes, Oaxacan Black Mole Enchiladas and Cast Iron-crisped Carnitas, paired with Margaritas made with fresh, uniquely Mexican ingredients, including Hibiscus, Spicy Blood Orange and Tamarind.

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El Vez

El Vez
259 Vesey St
Battery Park,New York 10282
(212) 233-2500

Everything is over-the-top at Stephen Starr’s El Vez, from the ginormous space (featuring four differently-themed dining rooms), to the wonky guacamoles (riddled with goat cheese, pistachios and roasted tomatoes) and the giant tome of a drinks menu, offering nine totally unique margarita variations, from Bitter Guava, Red Bell Pepper and Cucumber Mint, to Hibiscus, Pineapple Basil, the “Skinny Paloma” (grapefruit and fresca) and the “Cafecito;” a blend of chipotle, averna and La Colombe cold brew.

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Maya

Maya
1191 1st Avenue
Upper East Side,New York 10021
(212) 585-1818

Out of chef Richard Sandoval’s dynasty of Mexican-inspired, New York-based restaurants, we’re partial to his Upper East Side flagship, Maya, with its five takes on guacamole (mashed with crab, tuna, bacon or grasshopper ash), craveable antojitos (like zucchini flower quesadillas, shrimp and sweet corn tamales and mole-swathed roasted pumpkin) and nuanced margaritas, including the “Yucatan” (habanero and blood orange with a chile pasilla rim), the “Maya” (tamarind, fresh lime and agavales blanco) and the “Mercado;” jalapeno-infused agavales, swirled with passionfruit and topped with hibiscus-rosemary foam.

Gran Electrica

Gran Electrica
5 Front Street
Brooklyn,New York 11201
(718) 852-2789

DUMBO’s Gran Electrica is a real looker; from the custom-made wallpaper, patterned with frolicking skeletons in classic Brooklyn tableaus, to the stunning “Margarita de Remolacha;” a ruby red tipple made with fresh beet juice, Pueblo Viejo blanco tequila and Combier, and garnished with a speared wheel of fresh, paper-thin beet.

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Bunsmith

Bunsmith
789 Franklin Ave
Crown Heights,New York 11238
(347) 406-6660

Who said margaritas could only be made with tequila and teamed with Mexican food?  At the creative Asian steamed bun spot, Bunsmith, Fried Chicken, Pork Jowl and Freshwater Eel-filled bites go down swimmingly well with the South-of-the-border tipple, spiked with soju and rimmed with gochugaru salt.

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