5 Must-Try Margaritas in San Diego

By Darlene Horn  |  June 10, 2014

For agave spirits lovers, choosing a favorite margarita is like choosing a favorite child. You love them all. Especially when you're talking top margaritas in San Diego, just a short trip away from tequila's birthplace in Mexico. Next time you’re craving a hand-shaken, crafted cocktail, check out these five must-try versions around town. Do you have a favorite? Leave it in the comments below.

1) Spanish Margarita at Twenty/20 at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa
A twist on the traditional marg is found at TWENTY/20 using jalapeño-infused agave nectar for a spicy punch. It’s shaken with Torres orange liquer, lime, orange and Fortaleza Blanco. The mixture is strained over the rocks, then poured into a glass rimmed with brown sugar, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and cumin. A finishing and dramatic touch: Spanish brandy-muddled blackberry spooned on top. 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., Carlsbad; 760-827-2500

2) La Vanilla from Ponce's Mexican Restaurant
There are 14 variations of margaritas at this Kensington eatery. Dynamic combos mix in juices like pomegranates, pineapples, melon, oranges, mangos and classic lime. But you won't do better than "La Vanilla," a sweet take with Don Julio and Casa Noble Anejo tequila, shot of Grand Marnier and the restaurant's own agave nectar mix with a hint of vanilla. It's served in a tall pint glass and pairs well with a large helping of their crisp tortilla chips and salsa. 4050 Adams Ave.; 619-282-4413


3) Puesto Perfect Margarita at Puesto
We named Puesto one of the eight hottest restaurants in San Diego, and their specialty cocktails are one big reason why. The Puesto Perfect Margarita (pictured above) mixes Maestro Dobel Tequila, lime and agave - three simple ingredients that soar every time. This drink is available at the Downtown location and newly expanded La Jolla location. 789 West Harbor Dr.; 619-233-8880; 1026 Wall St, La Jolla; 858-454-1260

4) Smoked Orange Margarita at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
The bartenders here take tequila seriously. On the regular, they travel to Herradurra Tequila HQ in Mexico to hand pick the hotel’s private-barrel tequila. You’ll taste the special spirit in the smoked orange margarita, mixed with Montelobos Mezcal and housemade sour.
9700 N. Torrey Pines Rd.; 858-550-1000


5) Prickly Pear Margarita at The Blind Burro
One of the most popular and delicious margaritas at this Downtown Mexican eatery is tinged with stunning fuschia thanks to prickly pear (pictured above). Its juice is shaken with El Jimador Blanco, triple sec, fresh lime and agave nectar. Kick in extra for the optional candied jalepeño syrup. 639 J St.; 619-795-7880