Because waiting around for Cinco de Mayo is clearly preposterous, February 22 brings with it National Margarita Day, giving those in need of an excuse for tequila an excellent opportunity.
In Orlando, celebratory venue options are limitless. Presented here is a convenient selection around the metro, from "The Happiest Place on Earth," the craft cocktail havens of downtown and beyond.
The Courtesy's extensive selection of craft tequilas and mezcals will be featured all day on National Margarita Day — Photo courtesy of The Courtesy Bar
Staffers at The Courtesy Bar are not ones to ignore the significance of any cocktail, whether famous or obscure. For this year’s holiday, they’ve created the El Caracol, made with Pierde Almas mescal, Dolin genepy (an Alpine botanical liqueur) and tarragon and arugula simple syrup. The pink Himalayan-salted rim is optional.
“The margarita is one of our favorite canvases,” says proprietor Gene Zimmerman. “It willingly accepts any number of fruit components and transforms in depth with different marks of tequila or mezcal.”
At the Parks
Few, if any, places for top-shelf margaritas are as family-friendly as the Epcot-ensconced La Cava del Tequila, which showcases varieties as exotic as coffee or cucumber.
Sample three of La Cava's most popular offerings at Epcot on Feb. 22 — Photo courtesy of La Cava del Tequila
“To celebrate National Margarita Day, La Cava will be featuring a sampler of our three most famous margaritas: avocado, blood orange and jalapeño,” says Javier Villegas, beverage director for the Mexico pavilion’s San Angel Inn.
In total, patrons will be drinking a little more than one regular-sized cocktail and get a little Epcot-style education along with the buzz: a handout explaining the drink’s history is served alongside.
Over at Universal CityWalk, Antojitos will be slinging its signature Antoritas, along with other specialty offerings. You need not partake of its street cart-inspired cuisine to enjoy. Just roll up to the van parked outside, and enjoy your celebration al fresco.
Fresh guac, made table-side, pairs well with the ample Antorita — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
While Orlando’s taco trucks and uber-casual Mexican joints are both many and beloved, those who enjoy an upscale Park Avenue vibe will enjoy the Margarita Day experience being proffered at Cocina 214, where both of their eponymous margaritas (rocks and frozen) will be on special for $5.
Creative offerings here include the Caliente Casamigos – made with Serrano peppers – and the whimsical Pop Rocks Rita. Manager/Partner/Co-Founder Lambrine Macejewski says the crackly candy was popular during her Texas childhood.
Orlando urban legend might warn not to mix the Pop Rocks Rita with cola — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
“We thought it would be cool to try it out in a margarita, and it worked out great!” says Macejewski.
It’s one of the most popular at the restaurant, alongside the El Diablo (a frozen swirled with sangria) and the Orange Blossom, which incorporates both Pavan and Grand Marnier liqueurs.
“We juice the limes ourselves," Macejewski adds. "Using the best ingredients is the key to a great margarita every time.”
Cask & Larder’s lauded kitchen kicks out Southern favorites both classic and creative, but its expert bar staff has no such parameters. For Margarita Day, they’re happy to stray south of the border with the Kicks Like a Mule, featuring Fidencio mezcal, Arbol chili syrup, lime and lemon juices, dry Curacao, egg white and a black sea salt rim.
“This Mezcal version of a margarita uses the smokier sister of tequila for an earthier flavor,” says bartender Mike Bass, the drink’s creator. “The egg white is added to texture and mellow the heat from the chili.”
Mezcal, says C&L bartender Mike Bass, is tequila's "smokier sister" — Photo courtesy of Cask & Larder
There are festivities to be found amid this tourist-driven stretch of Orlando, to be sure. Those less inclined for Mexican fare to pair with their celebratory ‘rita may find a haven at the I-Drive installment of Tony Roma’s, where the outfit’s various “Romaritas” will be offered for $2.22 all day long.
“They’re consistently our most popular cocktails,” says Jim Rogers, Tony Roma’s chief marketing officer. “There’s just something about the smooth tequila that instantly turns on the fun!”
Feeling like Asian? Over at Pointe Orlando, RA Sushi’s newest cocktail is the Lychee Margarita, which melds Sauza Blue Agave tequila with lychee puree for a Chino-Latino turn on the classic.
The Pomegranate Romarita, regularly priced at $9, will be $2.22 on National Margarita Day — Photo courtesy of Tony Roma's