Whether you believe it was Carlos Herrera, owner of a restaurant somewhere between Tijuana and Baja California, who made the drink in 1938 for a customer allergic to all spirits except tequila; or, Don Carlos bartending in Ensenada, Mexico, in 1941 who concocted the cocktail for Margarita Henkel; or, you believe that the margarita is just the daisy cocktail with tequila instead of brandy and translated into Spanish, it doesn’t actually matter when what you’re looking for is Sydney’s best margarita.
Regardless of its origins, the margarita (and the frozen margarita for that matter) has become one of the world’s most famous drinks, celebrated as the drink of friendship, good times and the of a place somewhere warmer than where we are. There’s something about tequila, and thus margaritas, that parties kick right into gear about when it makes an appearance.
But tequila is so much more than all hands in the air, on the dancefloor screaming wooooo—margaritas too. Treated right, the margarita is a great cocktail and there are a number of bars in Sydney that do the tequila-triple sec-lime combo more than justice. And, impart their own spin on the famous cocktail, too.
1. Tequila Mockingbird, Paddington
The Tequila Mockingbird’s signature Tequila Mockingbird cocktail is more than just a spicy take on the original. Using quality ingredients and the right ratios, Tequila Mockingbird mixes Don Julio blanco tequila with St Germain elderflower liqueur, a dash of lemon and jalapeño-infused agave with a slice of cucumber. Touch the spiced-salt rim to your lips and welcome to the party.
However, if you prefer the original, then all good because the homely terrace bar and restaurant has got your covered, from your choice of high-quality tequila to how you want it served.
Basement Mexican restaurant Esteban (same owners as Tequila Mockingbird) also does mighty-fine margaritas and, again, you can build your own—including one with Quiquiriqui Mezcal.Make a reservation at Tequila Mockingbird.
2. Cantina OK!, CBD
Small but mighty, the hole-in-the-wall bar down Council Place holds its own among Sydney’s best bars and is stacked high with “hand-sourced, hand-imported, handmade agave spirits.”
The Margarita OK! shakes mezcal with tequila and adds in orange oil to blend with the lime. It’s a superb concoction. The bartenders, though, know what they’re doing behind the bar and if you ask nicely enough, they might have the time to serve you up their very own take on the classic cocktail.Find Cantina OK! here.
3. Chula, Potts Point
A recurring complaint against the traditional margarita is that it is too sweet. Chula takes care of this issue with their house margarita. The De La Casa margarita cuts the agave syrup with sparkling wine and fino sherry for a lighter taste and garnishes the cocktail with a dehydrated orange wheel.
It’s not the only margarita you can get at Chula’s, however. For those that love a frozen marg, the mango and chamoy version is a favourite while the Picante is made with Ancho Reyes Verde, a Mexican liqueur made from the Puebla chilli.For contemporary Mexican, you can’t go past Chula.
4. Fonda, Surry Hills and Bondi
Out with the ordinary and in with the margarita paddles at Fonda because how can you know which is Sydney’s best margarita if you haven’t tried all of them?
With two traditional margaritas plus four house margaritas—Makrut Lime & Chilli, Chilli Mango, Watermelon & Lime, and Coconut—on the menu as well as a rotating selection of frozen margaritas to quench your thirst on the hottest of days, Fonda serves up good time after good time.Celebrate with friends at Fonda.
5. La Farmacia, Darlinghurst
When it comes to things that make you feel better, tacos and margaritas are high on most lists. They’re certainly held in high regard at La Farmacia and by its regulars. And, with 16 varieties of margaritas on the drinks menu, it’s easy to see why.
From the classic and the traditional to the spicy, fruity and botanical, there’s a margarita at La Farmacia to pump up your spirits and get you into a good mood because just like all good things, they take their time to make. The spiced jalapeño margarita takes three days to create, letting the mix of jalapeños and habaneros soak in premium tequila long before you know you even needed a marg.Find your medicine at La Farmacia.