It’s National Margarita Day—Here’s Where to Drink

Classic, frozen, and swirled: Here are nine places to pop in for a tequila-based cocktail tonight.

Oyamel’s foamy margarita. Photograph by M.K. Tye.

What a week, right? President’s Day, followed by Fat Tuesday, followed by National Margarita Day. Yup, today is National Margarita Day, a time to celebrate a drink with a mysterious history.

At its purest, a margarita is just tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau (or, yes, Triple Sec, but if there’s Cointreau, get that). Any cocktail bar worth its salt rim will make you one of those, but if you’re a fan of fruity, frozen, and/or swirled, you’re in luck: Washington is awash in Mexican and Tex-Mex-themed bars specializing in such drinks.

Alero—U Street 
Alero on U Street has 15 types of margarita available by the glass, half pitcher, and pitcher. During happy hour, a house marg with Jose Cuervo is $5.50.

Cactus Cantina
This large Tex-Mex restaurant by the Cathedral has margaritas flavored with mango, peach, and strawberry. Combine them—Slurpee style—to create a margarita “swirl.” These creations are available by the glass, half pitcher, or whole pitcher; see the full menu here.

Casa Oaxaca
This Adams Morgan Mexican spot is recognizing National Margarita Day by extending its $4.50 happy hour special on flavored ’ritas through 9 PM. It’s also debuting two new flavors tonight: ginger-mango and jicama-cucumber.

El Centro D.F.
The 14th Street taqueria has three margaritas on the menu—a classic ’rita, plus a strawberry and a mango version—and all three are made with El Jimador tequila and lime.

Try a “skinny” margarita or one made with mezcal at this Arlington restaurant’s La Cantina bar. Guajillo will also swirl regular and fruity flavors together, if that’s what you’re into.

Lauriol Plaza 
Cactus Cantina’s famous sister restaurant in Dupont, an enormous indoor-outdoor eatery right on the cusp of Adams Morgan, also does margs by the pitcher, half pitcher, and glass. Fans of the swirl can order combinations of peach, mango, strawberry, and classic margaritas.

Oyamel’s annual tequila and mezcal festival doesn’t start until March, but in the meantime you can sample its famous “salt air” foam margarita. (Not feeling social? Try it at home with this recipe. Just be sure to pick up some soy lecithin on the way home.)

Rosa Mexicano 
At its two local outposts (Penn Quarter and Chevy Chase), Rosa Mexicano offers specialty margaritas sweetened with organic agave. In Chevy Chase, two of them are on special during happy hour from 4 to 7 in the bar area. Try the frozen pomegranate margarita, with pomegranate and lime juices.

Tortilla Coast
This Capitol Hill Tex-Mex place recently added a second location in Logan Circle. Both restaurants offer extensive margarita menus in frozen and liquid form. Happy hour in Logan Circle happens from 3:30 to 6:30 at the bar and features a classic and a frozen ’rita, each $7.

Editor’s Note: This list is from 2012, so current deals and prices may have changed.