"If life gives you limes, make margaritas." - Jimmy Buffet
There is perhaps no better cultural icon with which to associate the margarita than Jimmy Buffet. Long before the singer/songwriter turned his most popular song into a brand name, he made margaritas a "state of mind" cocktail. A classic margarita contains two parts tequila, one part lime juice and one part triple sec, mixed together and chilled with ice. But quality deviations from the norm abound in Pittsburgh. As we approach Cinco de Mayo, take a look at some of the finest and funkiest margaritas Pittsburgh has to offer.
Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Margarita
152 East Bridge St
Homestead, PA 15210
Hours: Mon to Fri - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat to Sun - 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
At Gran Agave, margaritas are a labor of love for owner Vicente Leon. The house margaritas, made with Sauza Silver tequila, Cointreau, orange juice and lime juice, are mixed before being chilled for as long as a week. "It has taken me four years to perfect my margarita recipe," reveals Leon, "but I am very proud of them and believe they are the best around." The Gran Agave margaritas cost only six dollars for a 16-oz glass. On weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., they are half price, making Gran Agave the best bang-for-your-buck stop for delicious margaritas in Pittsburgh.
Best Fusion-Style Margarita
2000 Smallman St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Hours: Mon to Wed - 11:30 to 10 p.m., Thurs to Sat - 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun - 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Kaya cocktail menu places its immediate focus on the tropical refreshers list. From mojitos and sangrias to margaritas, the menu is filled with fresh ideas and unique twists. The Grapefruit Basil Margarita is a particular favorite of many restaurants patrons. It is mixed with Herradura Silver tequila, freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juices and muddled basil. The Sangrita, made from tomato, orange, guava and citrus juices, served with a shot of Avion anejo tequila, is another delectable cocktail fusion offered at the restaurant. Kaya's fresh and original cocktails are the best fusion style margaritas you can find in these parts.
Related: Best Margaritas In Pittsburgh
Best Couple's Margarita
Round Corner Cantina
3720 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Hours: Mon to Wed - 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thurs to Sat - 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The margarita names at the Round Corner Cantina are all in Spanish. These options not only translate into clever titles, but also delectable cocktails. La Chiquita Sarita, which translates as "the little girl Sarita," is made with Corralejo tequila, strawberries, orange juice and lime. La Esposa, "the wife," is made with Rosangel hibiscus, grapefruit, lime and salt. Last but definitely not least, El Rey "the King," is made with Don Julio anjeo, combier d'orange, orange, lemon and lime all mixed up and fit for a king. The El Rey and La Esposa cocktails at the Round Corner Cantina helped crown this spot as Pittsburgh's best place for couple's margaritas.
5491 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun - 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri to Sat - 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
There are more than 50 varieties of tequila on the Verde spirits list. Its premiere margarita is made with Herradura Anejo Tequila, Solerno blood oranges and lime. For many of the customers that visit the Mexican kitchen and Cantina, a meal there is incomplete without one of the signature margaritas. Some of the ingredients contributing to the more funky margaritas are pineapple, honey, cilantro, apple, walnuts and cranberries. The cocktail that affords Verde its reputation as the funkiest margarita spot is its Spicy Honey BBQ option. Made with Anejo Tequila, honey, a blend of Mexican spices and smoke flavoring, it is truly a taste of the Southwest in a margarita glass.
126 S Highland Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Hours: Mon to Fri - 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat - 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Ava Lounge in East Liberty is both chic and modern. A glance at the specialty drink list only reinforces the overall theme of the place. At the top of the list is a simple, stylish take on the traditional margarita. Called the Matador, it is comprised of tequila, pineapple and lime. Ava's specialty drinks are not always available, however; the restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and if stock runs out, your favorite cocktail may not be available. Needless to say, it takes the chic award for Pittsburgh margaritas.
Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com
for more features.