Best Margarita Denver 2004 - Mezcal
Readers' Choice: Rio Grande
Like its agave-derivative namesake, Mezcal -- the upscale Mexican cantina that opened on a gentrifying-by-the-second block of East Colfax last December -- is getting slammed on a nightly basis. And rightly so. From its glowing Moroccan lamps and sunny walls painted with Sol Cerveza advertisements to such kitschy decorations as a chrome low-rider bike suspended from the ceiling and a plastic baby Jesus affixed to an exposed-brick column, Mezcal looks like the real thing. And Mezcal tastes like it, too, with its stash of over a hundred premium tequilas, served straight up or mixed into fabulous fruity concoctions. But the only true measure of a tequila bar is the house margarita, where the mix is key. Too much sweet in the sweet-and-sour, and your marg tastes like soap. Too little, and your cheeks get glued together in a permanent pucker. Mezcal makes its mix daily from freshly squeezed Key and Persian limes; add in the Triple Sec and Silver Herradura -- the very generous house tequila -- and you've got one great marg. It's even better at happy hour, when a tall, tall glass runs only $3. Since the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. every day of the week, there's plenty of time to order a burrito to soak up all that excess alcohol. And before you head for home, remember to check out the ba?o de caballeros, which is full of busty Mexican pinups.