10 Top-Notch Margaritas Around Chicago

By Sarah Freeman  |  June 6, 2014

Tis (finally) the season for the classic warm-weather cocktail. Local bartenders are getting extra creative with pepper-infused tequila, triple sec substitutions and specialty salt garnishes. Now that the worst of the lime shortage is behind us, let's get to work.

  • Smokiest

    Sean's Outta Thyme at Mercadito: Mezcal, pomegranate, thyme and soda come together for what tastes like a smoky iced tea.

    Price: $11.50

  • Spiciest

    Hunter S. Thompson at Twisted Spoke: In this off-menu item, muddled lime, cucumber and mango mixes with Tanteo jalapeño tequila, Green Chartreuse, simple syrup and a pinch of cilantro. Everything is shaken with egg whites, then garnished with celery salt and a coarse salted rim.

    Price: $13

  • Cutest

    Rosemary’s Margarita at Antique Taco: Imagine walking into a rustic Pinterest board that serves booze. Obviously margaritas come in reclaimed bottles with striped paper straws. The drink itself is made with tequila, fresh lime and orange juices and rosemary simple syrup.

    Price: $12 per glass or $23 per carafe

  • Trendiest

    Ay Diablo at Ay Chiwowa: Someone read our tea cocktail article. Or more likely jumped on the trend early with a margarita made from Tazo passion fruit syrup, Lunazul reposado tequila, Domaine de Canton ginger-flavored liqueur and fresh lime juice.

    Price: $12

  • Most Refreshing

    Sorbet 'Ritas at Cantina Laredo: Margarita meets slushie in this trio of chillers (blood orange, mango citrus and raspberry-chipotle) made from Mount Gay Eclipse rum.

    Price: $7

  • Most Beer

    Black 'N Green Margarita at Taco Joint: You’ve heard of the beermosa and the Michelada, but to create this sudsy sip, bartenders pour Negra Modelo cerveza over a frozen margarita made with El Jimador tequila blanco, orange liqueur and lime juice.

    Price: $9

  • Most Creative

    Margarita de Sandia at Más: Seasonality is key in a cocktail that uses ripe watermelon and Sun Gold tomatoes. The sweet and savory combination is an ideal match for Olmeca Altos blanco tequila, Aperol, lime, agave syrup and lava salt.

    Price: $11

  • Most Unconventional

    Pinky Gonzales at Three Dots and a Dash: Cheers to Trader Vic's tiki-fied recipe from 1964. It contains Reposado tequila, curacao, lime and orgeat and is served in one of the bar’s signature mugs with a bouquet of fresh mint.

    Price: $13

  • Most Expensive

    Splurge Margarita at Frontera GrillThis deluxe version contains Riazu anejo tequila that has been aged in cognac barrels, Grand Marnier, and cognac-infused Pineau des Charantes. To top it off? Fresh lime and gold leaf garnish.

    Price: $35

  • Most Popular

    Classic Margarita at Big Star: It's a crowd-pleaser for good reason. In fact, the bar goes though thirty gallons of Lunazul blanco, lime and Marie Brizard orange curacao per night.

    Price: $9 or $40 per pitcher