Tequila is no longer a bad memory from college. The spirit has evolved into a sophisticated libation now celebrated in the most fashionable venues. In South Florida, you can join the tequila craze with a host of specials highlighting National Tequila Day, July 24. Here's a rundown of where to toast Mexico's beloved spirit:
Bagatelle Miami Beach
220 21st St., Miami Beach; 305-704-3900; bagatellemiami.com.
Miami Beach's swanky restaurant/lounge will celebrate the day with its Despacito cocktail ($17), made with Casamigos Reposado, Cointreau, lychee, and lime.
Beaker & Gray
2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-699-2637; beakerandgray.com.
This Wynwood spot will honor National Tequila Day under the expert guidance of bar manager/owner Ben Potts. The Nom Nom Nom ($7) is made with Avion Blanco, Ancho Reyes Verde, and pineapple, and the WW ($15) offers a bit of bite courtesy of Avion Añejo, cacao, Thai chili, and Corazon bitters. The $5 happy-hour special Tommy's margarita is made with El Jimador, agave, and lime.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
1222 16th St., Miami Beach; 305-704-2145; bodegasouthbeach.com.
On National Tequila Day, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila will serve the Pico Picante, made with tequila, lime, cucumber juice, and jalapeño syrup ($13), along with happy-hour specials that include $4 Avion tequila shots and a $6 tequila cocktail menu.
Cantina La Veinte
495 Brickell Ave. at Icon Brickell, Miami; 786-623-6135; www.cantinala20.com.
Spice lovers should opt for the jalapeño margarita ($16), made with Tanteo jalapeño tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and agave ($16). The Mariachi Loco ($16), with Avíon Silver Tequila, 1800 Coconut Tequila, cucumber, pineapple, and agave, offers a tropical spin. If money is no object, Cantina La Veinte will offer two margaritas made with top-shelf tequilas: the Millionaire ($75), with Don Julio 1942, Grand Marnier, lime juice, and agave; and the Billionaire ($150), with Don Julio Real, Grand Marnier 1880, lime juice, and agave.
2000 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-587-2000; doacantina.com.
Mixologist Josue “Josh” Gonzalez introduces agave nirvana in a glass via the Sensei Serenity ($16). The cocktail combines Casa Noble tequila, cucumber juice, honeydew, lime juice, and shiso leaves. Enjoy with $5 bar bites such as crispy squid or chicken wings with a sweet ginger glaze.
Juniper on the Water
1975 S. Ocean Dr., Hallandale Beach; 954-544-3370; juniperonthewater.com.
Hidden amid Hallandale's rows of condos, this modern-American restaurant will celebrate National Tequila Day with a sunset margarita ($11), made with jalapeño-infused tequila, lime, and a tan salt rim. Visit during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., and you'll get it for $9.
Kings Bowl Doral
3450 NW 83rd Ave., Suite 152, Doral; 844-494-9400; kingsbowlamerica.com.
Make National Tequila Day a destination celebration at Kings Bowl. Order a Bad Habit ($11), containing strawberry, mango, and tequila, before heading to one of the venue's 14 ten-pin bowling lanes.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 877-326-7412; fontainebleau.com.
This stylish Miami Beach landmark offers several ways to celebrate National Tequila Day. For those who love chemistry (and a good drink), head to Sorso by Scarpetta, where creations made by the resort's cocktail lab and infusion bar include the Dime Piece ($17), made with pineapple-infused Herradura tequila, Cointreau, cilantro, lime, and house-made pineapple shrub, and the En Fuego ($17), jalapeño-infused Corazon tequila, Sauvignon bBlanc, St-Germain, lemon, and agave. Guests can cool down with La Côte’s watermelon basil margarita ($18), made with Corralejo tequila, Cointreau, basil, watermelon, and hand-pressed lime juice. StripSteak by Michael Mina will offer the Notorious F.I.G. ($15), containing Partida Reposado tequila, Sotol por Siempre, Calvados, mission figs, and maple.
Gianni’s at the Villa
1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-485-2200; vmmiamibeach.com/restaurant.
Nestled inside the former Versace mansion, Gianni's at the Villa Casa Casuarina offers Gianni's 24 Karat Golden Margarita ($24). The cocktail contains a gold-infused blend of Don Julio tequila, Grand Marnier, and freshly squeezed orange and lime juices.
W South Beach Hotel & Residences, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-938-3000.
Living Room offers the Jalapeño Passion ($16), made with Reposado tequila, passionfruit, jalapeño, lime juice, and basil; the Desert Rose ($16), with Reposado tequila, Thai syrup, Peychaud's bitters, cucumber, and fresh lemon juice; and the Belladonna ($16), a mixture of mezcal, Aperol, maraschino liquor, juice, and mint.
Lolo's Surf Cantina
161 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-735-6973; loloscantina.com.
What better way to celebrate National Tequila Day than with a proper one-day-only tequila convention? From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Lolo's will offer samples of various tequila brands in the cantina's own specialty cocktails for just $8, which will go great with the eatery's tacos, quesadillas, and chalupas. There's also the Sour Coyote ($14), containing reposado tequila, lemon, passionfruit, chili, and egg white.
9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-864-8600; makoto-restaurant.com.
The restaurant's grilled pineapple margarita ($15), a smoky-sweet libation made with house-infused grilled-pineapple tequila, cilantro, and a spiced salt rim, was created to pair with chef Makoto Okuwa's cuisine.
915 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-532-0088.
Celebrate National Tequila Day with creative tributes such as the Alacrán Sandia ($16), made with Alacrán Blanco tequila, watermelon, lime, agave, and Cocchi Americano vermouth, and the I Love Gold ($16), made with Don Julio Añejo tequila, Combier liqueur, citrus, orange, honey, and cinnamon. If you’d rather have your tequila neat, Meat Market offers more than 15 varieties.
3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne; 305-361-3818; therustypelican.com.
Head mixologist Oscar Amaya recently unveiled a craft cocktail program with drinks such as the Agave Sunset ($15), made with El Jimador tequila, passionfruit purée, blue agave syrup, raspberries, and house-made sour mix.
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Semilla Eatery & Bar
1330 Alton Rd., Miami Beach; 305-674-6522; semillamiami.com.
Parisian chef Frederic Joulin is offering a BOGO special on all tequila drinks all night. That means you can order two Bonne Maman lemonades ($12), made with Padre Blanco tequila, lime juice, lemon sour, and blueberry Bonne Maman jam, for the price of one. If your festivity requires something a bit stronger, enjoy $6 shots for $3 all night.
1784 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-763-8355.
Set in a former auto body and paint shop, this hip spot under the expert care of former Nobu Miami executive chef Sunny Oh will offer the Ají Lychee ($13), a blend of Dobel Diamante tequila, ají amarillo lychee purée, and lime, topped with a jalapeño for an extra kick.
Brickell City Centre, 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 786-347-5368; tacology.us.
For $18, Brickell City Centre's taqueria will offer a tequila flight featuring Casa Noble Silver, Reposado, and Añejo tequilas. The popular Mexican restaurant, designed to resemble a typical mercado, will serve a Casa Berries cocktail ($12), made with Casa Noble Silver tequila, strawberries, blueberries, hibiscus and lime juices, and agave nectar.