We love a good margarita as much as anyone, but tequila has so much more to offer beyond its supporting role in a 'rita. If you're game to try some daring new tequila drinks for Cinco de Mayo this year, check out these creative inventions at bars and restaurants around the country … or simply use them for inspiration for whipping up a new concoction at your next fiesta (where you most likely won't have to elbow your way to the bar).
Chai Milk Punch at Stella San Jac, Austin
Not only is it a given that you've never had a drink like this before, you've probably never seen most of its ingredients on a menu. The bartenders at this Southern-inspired bar and lounge combine Avion Espresso tequila with a housemade chai spiced syrup and then shake it with whole milk, black walnut bitters, mole bitters, and ice before straining the concoction into a chilled coupe and topping it with a sprinkling of nutmeg.
Scorpion Honey at Pinewood Social, Nashville
This Nashville hotspot is a sort of adult playground, complete with two pools, a bowling alley, outdoor bar, bocce court and killer cocktails. To make the Scorpion Honey, beverage director Matt Tocco blends El Jimador Reposado tequila with smoky mezcal as a base, and rounds it out with Peychaud's bitters and with sweet and citrusy flavors from crème de banana, lemon and vanilla.
Urban Legend at Los Chingones, Denver
Cabrito blanco tequila is accompanied by the "deadly" combination of Mexi Coke and Pop Rocks, making for a bubbly concoction. Don't worry, we have a feeling you'll survive … at least long enough to enjoy dinner at this Mexican eatery.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned at Tako, Pittsburgh
This hip taco bar replaces the usual whisky or brandy found in old-fashioned Old Fashioneds with Cabrito Reposado tequila and Los Amantes Joven mezcal, and then swaps out regular old sugar for agave. The result is a cocktail perfect for pairing with zippy tacos and salsas.
Blackberry Tequila Punch at El Bolero, Dallas
Yes, the punch is definitely spiked at this Dallas restaurant specializing in regional Mexican cuisine. In this case, it's made with blackberries, jalapeno, pineapple, lime, and agave, plus a generous dose of Patron.
The Misfit at Caufield's Bar and Dining Room, Beverly Hills
This cocktail was named after one of Arthur Miller's most famous screenplays, The Misfits, which he wrote in honor of second wife Marilyn Monroe. The bartenders at Caulfield's (the ground-floor restaurant of Sixty Beverly Hills Hotel) give the drink its balance of sugar and spice by combining Casamigos Blanco tequila, lime, fresh muddled serrano peppers, cucumber and basil. The bold flavor combo is intended to make the cocktail as daring and seductive as Marilyn herself.
Bloody Agave at Taco Guild, Phoenix
If you decide to start celebrating early this year (like, not-going-to-work early) go for this boozy brunch drink, served up at this taco-focused Phoenix gastropub. It's a twist on a traditional Bloody Mary, but you won't find a drop of vodka in it. Instead the drink mixes tequila and mezcal with tomatoes and chiles.
Basil Nixen at Post 390, Boston
What, you've never had roasted poblano juice? Well, you can try some at this upscale Boston tavern, where it's shaken with yellow Chartreuse, agave, lime juice, and tequila to make an elegant-looking cocktail in a coupe.
Picnic With the Kennedys at The Late Late Bar & Spirit Grocer, New York City
The names of the drinks at this Lower East Side bar, modeled after a 1960s Irish home, are just as alluring as the cocktails themselves. And while we're not sure if the Kennedy family has ever enjoyed this one, it does sound perfect for a picnic. The smoky-sweet drink mixes Avion Silver tequila with Demerara sugar, smoked tea, raspberries and fresh lime, and gets a garnish of "balsamic "dribble" plus salt and pepper for good measure.
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