A cocktail using three simple ingredients — tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice — has created quite a buzz around the country … and even in a city bent on bourbon. After all, it’s National Margarita Day on Friday, Feb. 22, so why not raise a toast to the classic cocktail many believe was invented in the late-1930s?
Either Louisvillians really like their tequila, or they need a bright spot among their dull and dreary February — whatever the case, many of our restaurants and bars are celebrating the occasion Friday (and some all week long) with margarita specials and more. But first, here are a few fun facts about the drink …
- Margarita is Spanish for daisy.
- The United States is the No. 1 tequila market, and the South drinks the most tequila.
- On average, Americans consume more than 185,000 margaritas an hour.
- The first frozen margarita machine was invented in 1971 using an old soft-serve ice cream machine.
- Margaritaville in Las Vegas made the largest margarita ever — 8,500 gallons — in 2011.
- There are about 170 calories in the standard margarita concocted with pre-made sour/lime mix, however, you can decrease that number by using fresh-squeezed limes.
In April, Insider ranked Louisville’s top six margaritas and received a lot of feedback — both in agreement and dissonance — so we know our city’s love of tequila runs deep. Without further ado, here are a handful of places celebrating National Tequila Day, and if we’ve missed your favorite spot, please send us the details and we’ll add it to the mix.
Galaxie — 732 E. Market St.
We’re starting with Galaxie because, frankly, they’re celebrating National Margarita Day for five straight days starting Tuesday, Feb. 19. Galaxie just so happened to land at spot No. 4 on our best-of list and for good reason. Their house cocktail is a margarita that can also be spiced up on request.
But for this special occasion, the bar has made five brand new twists on their margarita, and one will be available each day from Feb. 19-23.
You just have to stay glued to their social media to find out which one will be on which day — and if you’re looking for a deal, said margarita will be half off from noon to 6 p.m.
Recipes include strawberry-basil, pineapple-cinnamon, cucumber-mint, coconut rum-rita and, as voted upon by bar regulars, mango. They all sound delicious, but we’re especially excited about the pineapple-cinnamon made spicy.
Copper & Kings American Brandy — 1121 E. Washington St.
Normally a brandy distillery wouldn’t come to mind when you’re thinking margarita, but that doesn’t stop Copper & Kings from participating in anything. After all, the also make Destillaré Intense Pomegranate and Destillaré Orange Curaçao, which make the perfect substitution for the orange liqueur in the standard margarita recipe.
Their Margarita Day Party is free to attend and runs from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. Not only can you get margaritas made with both liqueurs, but there also will be Latin-inspired food and salsa dancing and lessons by Josh Gonzalez and music by DJ Medallion of Cincinnati. Did we mention it’s free?
El Mundo — 2345 Frankfort Ave.
This list would be remiss without the winner of our top margarita spot, El Mundo. We reached out to the beloved Frankfort Avenue restaurant to see what they had planned for Friday, and co-owner Bea Chamberlain told us their scrumptious Prickly Pear margarita will be in the frozen machine all day and night long for $5.
They plan on being busy, so keeping the frozen machine full of Prickly Pear will be quite a task.
Ramiro’s Cantina — 2350 Frankfort Ave.
Located just across the street from El Mundo is Ramiro’s, which also is celebrating National Margarita Day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday. Along with food specials, you’ll be able to get their house margarita for $7 and their top-shelf version for a mere $8.
The friendly man on the phone also said last year there was about a 90-minute wait during dinnertime, so it’s best to arrive early and saddle up for a long night.
The Pearl — 1151 Goss Ave. & Silver Dollar — 1761 Frankfort Ave.
Since these two are owned by the same crew, we’re combining them in one post. Both are offering $6 margaritas using lime, orange curacao, simple syrup and Lunazul Blanco tequila. That’s right, both places use completely fresh ingredients, so no pre-made sour mix here, folks. Also, their Mezcal Margarita, which is made with lime, orange curacao, simple syrup and Mala Idea Espadin, is only $7.
At the Silver Dollar, you can also get you a shot of Lunazul Blanco shot for $4, and that same tequila will be $3 a shot at The Pearl.
Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen — 122 W. Main St.
This downtown honky-tonk loves both bourbon and tequila equally, so it’s no surprise they’re offering up their award-winning Mannyritas half-price all day long for $3.50. If you’re keeping track, Merle’s was No. 5 on our best-of list because they offer a solid drink every time we stop by — whether that’s in the middle of a rush before a Cher concert or on a lazy Thursday afternoon.
The Mannyrita is served in a salt-rimmed jar and is made fresh daily, so no pre-fabricated lime syrup here. We’re thinking that means we can have at least two without blowing the diet.
Wild Rita’s — 445 E. Market St.
At Wild Rita’s, they’re doing National Margarita Day a little different. Instead of cocktail specials, you can get a discount on an entire bottle of tequila and just keep it stored in your own locker at the downtown restaurant. The special runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, and it includes Jose Cuervo Traditional Silver for $30, Tres Agaves Blanco for $40 and Hornitos Anejo Black Barrel for $40.
Some of those prices are literally half off a bottle, so if you have a big group and want to quench everyone’s thirst, this is the way to go.
Taj — 807 E. Market St.
There’s going to be a whole lot of shaking going on at this NuLu bar as all their margaritas will be $5. That includes classic, flavored, frozen or spicy — all for 5 bucks. Taj opens at 4 p.m. and closes at 4 a.m., so you have no excuse not to swing by and enjoy one or three.
Guaca Mole — 9921 Ormsby Station Road
This East End oasis is offering up half price on all of its margaritas — both house and specialty — all day long on Friday. If you’ve never been, they offer more than a dozen varieties, so this would be the day to go in and explore the menu. An order of queso or their three different guacamole apps will help keep you sipping along, trust us.
Guaca Mole’s La Picosita margarita claimed the No. 3 spot in our best-of list. It’s made with chile-infused El Jimador Reposado tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and housemade sour mix.
Taco Luchador — Highlands, St. Matthews & Downtown locations
Many people think of Taco Luchador as a lunch spot or a place to run in and grab food to-go. But if you go as often as we do, you know they often have great drink specials. For National Margarita Day, all three locations are offering $2 margaritas all day long — a price you can’t beat.
This makes their margaritas cheaper than anything else on the menu, which is a win in our book!
The Limbo — 411 W. Chestnut St.
Of course, a tiki bar is whipping up some good specials for the occasion on Friday. Owner Olivia Rose Griffin tells us there are going to be specials all night long, including $20 for a shared bowl of margarita and $5 for traditional margaritas, a strawberry mezcal margarita or a spicy kiwi margarita — all of which sound delightful.
Plus, patrons can get $2 tacos or two empanadas for $6.
Chuy’s — 104 Oxmoor Court or 1440 Veterans Pkwy. (Clarksville, Ind.)
According to its company website, this Mexican chain is celebrating National Margarita Day on Friday with drink specials all day long including $1 off top-shelf Skinny Ritas and $1 floaters. What is a floater exactly? It’s just an extra shot of either tequila or orange liqueur — your choice — added to the drink either by pouring it around the rim or filling a test tube and shoving it down into the drink.
Either way, it’s delicious, and when a floater is offered, you shouldn’t turn it down. Cocktail etiquette.
This post as been updated to add in information on The Pearl and Silver Dollar.