When it comes to refreshing alcoholic beverages, few concoctions compete with the margarita. The mojito aside, it's practically the unofficial drink of South Florida.
Although downing margaritas all day is not generally good life advice, February 22 is National Margarita Day, which means you get a pass.
Of course, Floridians don't need a designated day as an excuse to relax and sip a cold one. Margaritas are year-round here. Every variation begins with a good tequila; then it's up to the bartender to add a touch of flair. Here are the ten best in Miami.
1. Bodega. Try the Pico Picante ($13), Bodega's version of a margarita. It's made with Maestro Dobel tequila, Ilegal Joven mezcal, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, lime, and orange bitters, and comes garnished with sliced cucumber. 1220 16th St., Miami Beach; 305-704-2145; bodegasouthbeach.com.
2. The Bazaar by José Andrés and Bazaar Mar. Chef José Andrés loves to play with his food. He adds whimsical touches to his dishes to create memorable bites. It's no wonder, then, that the same care is taken with his restaurants' margarita ($14-$16). A classic cocktail is graced with a touch of salt "air" — a briny foam that makes it seem as if your cocktail was kissed by a mermaid. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-455-2999; sbe.com; or 1300 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-615-5859; sbe.com.
3. Gianni's at the Villa. Go big with this restaurant's 24 Karat Golden Margarita ($24), prepared with gold-infused El Cartel tequila, Grand Marnier, and fresh orange and lime juices. It's poured over ice and finished with a salt rim and gold flakes. 1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-485-2200; vmmiamibeach.com.
4. Margaritaville. Every day is a perfect day to enjoy a margarita. Multiple margaritas ($8 to $15) abound at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, but try the classic Booze in the Blender, which comes in its own blender for you to keep if you're a die-hard Parrot Head. 1111 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-874-4444; margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com.
5. SoCal. Barman Leo Holtzman's Gardner's margarita ($11) at SoCal is a gorgeous rose-colored drink that gets its name (and freshness) from red bell peppers, cucumbers, and serrano chilies. Herradura tequila is used in this perfectly sweet and savory cocktail. 1000 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 754-600-1045; socal-taco.com.
6. Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar. How about a little spice with your margarita? Take Rocco's Tacos' jalapeño margarita ($10.75). The libation is made with jalapeño-infused tequila offset with an orange liqueur, Rocco’s house-made sour mix, and agave nectar. It's a pleasant balance of sweet with a kick. 1313 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-524-9550; roccostacos.com/fortlauderdale.
7. Regent Cocktail Club. Regent Cocktail Club's version ($15) is a fresh take on the classic. After a generous pour of tequila, it calls for mint, lime, and bubbles. Add in the Regent's dark, classy setting, and you have a sexy, warm experience unlike any other. 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-975-2550; regentcocktailclub.com.
8. TacoCraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar. Life is short: Eat tacos and drink tequila. Well, at least that's what you can do at TacoCraft, where you can choose from more than 150 tequilas and mezcals for your margarita (prices vary). Visit Monday for $5 margaritas.5829 SW 73rd St., South Miami; 305-668-5612; tacocraft.com.
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9. Makoto. Makoto's grilled pineapple margarita ($13) is the perfect complement to the restaurant's Asian flavors. For its margarita, Makoto infuses tequila with grilled pineapple and tinges it with cilantro. A spicy-salty rim seals the deal. 9700 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305- 864-8600; makoto-restaurant.com.
10. Cantina Laredo Modern Mexican. Cantina Laredo at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach offers the Cabo Flip. The concoction — made with fresh lime juice, Cabo Wabo