Booze

Pucker Up for Our Favorite House Margaritas From Denver Restaurants

On National Tequila Day, a giant barrel of tequila, like this one at La Loma, is a good way to start.
On National Tequila Day, a giant barrel of tequila, like this one at La Loma, is a good way to start. La Loma
Hot summer days call for boozy refreshers made with Mexico's most renowned spirit. Nothing works better than the classic combo of lime, tequila, salt and a little something sweet to balance it out, and many Denver restaurants stick with the tried and true (or slight variations on the theme) to create their house margarita, so finding a favorite is simply a matter of knowing your preferences and your bartender.

Finding new favorites is also as easy as using our new Denver Restaurant Directory, a searchable compendium of food and booze businesses around town doing takeout, delivery and in-house dining. The directory lets you search by any of those categories, as well as by neighborhood and cuisine...and you can find our favorite house margaritas when you filter for Mexican Cuisine.

Or just keep reading:

You can't drink them at the bar, but they taste just as good at a table or at home. - LAURA SHUNK
You can't drink them at the bar, but they taste just as good at a table or at home.
Laura Shunk

Adelitas Cocina y Cantina

1294 South Broadway
303-778-1294

Adelitas builds a bold but refreshing house margarita with Cimarron tequila, lime juice and orange simple syrup, or you can go coin-style for two dollars more. The difference is Fortaleza tequila and Naranja orange liqueur instead of simple syrup.


click to enlarge Comida's house margarita at 2501 Dallas Street (inside Aurora's Stanley Marketplace) is just one of ten versions available at the cantina. - LAURA SHUNK
Comida's house margarita at 2501 Dallas Street (inside Aurora's Stanley Marketplace) is just one of ten versions available at the cantina.
Laura Shunk

Comida Cantina

2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
303-484-1632

Comida's house margarita starts with Monte Alban Plata tequila, which gets mixed with sweet agave syrup and lemon, lime and orange juice. That last ingredient kicks up the orange note that's usually just background music in this cocktail, and it makes the drink easily one of the most poundable in town. Luckily, you can order this margarita by the glass or by the massive jar.

click to enlarge Dos Santos has a real thirst-quencher of a house margarita. - LAURA SHUNK
Dos Santos has a real thirst-quencher of a house margarita.
Laura Shunk

Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico

1475 East 17th Avenue
303-386-3509

Arette Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice and agave syrup make Dos Santos's house marg sweet and complex. If you're looking for something to drink at home, order the Big Brother Tommy, a full bottle that holds ten drinks for $45.

click to enlarge El Chingon's coin-style namesake margarita is a winner on Tennyson Street. - LAURA SHUNK
El Chingon's coin-style namesake margarita is a winner on Tennyson Street.
Laura Shunk

El Chingon

4326 Tennyson Street
303-248-3641

El Chingon gives the Berkeley neighborhood a true coin-style margarita as its house special, built with Fortaleza Blanco tequila, Cointreau (what else?) and a fresh-squeezed citrus blend. The result is a well-balanced drink unadulterated with excess sugar yet not puckeringly sour.

click to enlarge La Fogata's house margarita is slightly pink from cranberry juice. - LAURA SHUNK
La Fogata's house margarita is slightly pink from cranberry juice.
Laura Shunk

La Fogata

5670 East Evans Avenue
303-753-9458

"I know, it's pink!" cries the bartender as she places a cactus glass of the house margarita before us. She's seen our raised eyebrow, our glance at the menu, our momentary attempt to remember whether we accidentally said "paloma" when we meant "margarita." The rosy hue comes from La Fogata's housemade sweet-and-sour mix, built from a blend of juices, one of which is cranberry. We'll forgive La Fogata for its deviation, and even embrace it: It gives this drink, which also contains El Charro reposado tequila and triple sec, a mild acidity that's compelling and addictive.

Clink glasses at La Loma. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Clink glasses at La Loma.
Danielle Lirette

La Loma

1801 Broadway
303-433-8300

La Loma's iconic margarita comes in a variety of sizes, from small to fishbowl-large. The light and simple cocktail is made with a mix of tequila, triple sec and a house blend of citrus juices. While you can order it frozen or pumped with other fruit, we like it best the traditional way: on the rocks with salt.

Coin-style is the house style at Lola. - MARK ANTONATION
Coin-style is the house style at Lola.
Mark Antonation

Lola Coastal Mexican

1575 Boulder Street
720-570-8686

If you prefer the tart, orange-tinged sipper that only a coin-style margarita can provide, Lola makes a list of cocktails to work your way through. Start with the Silver Coin, Lola's house margarita, which blends blanco and reposado tequilas, orange liqueur and lime juice into a drink with floral and acidic notes. Grab one from the walk-up window to go (you can even sub in mezcal for the tequila) for $8, or take home a Grande, which serves five for $30.

click to enlarge The Los Chingones Los Marg. - LORI MIDSON
The Los Chingones Los Marg.
Lori Midson

Los Chingones

2634 Larimer Street, 303-295-0686
10155 East 29th Drive, 303-975-6166
4959 South Newport Street, 303-567-4258

These days, Los Chingones is a little quieter than its usual overflowing patio and bar scene, but that just makes it easier to order the house Los Marg, a sweet-tart blend of Exotico Blanco tequila and a housemade sweet-and-sour mix, just the thing for a relaxed evening of sipping.

click to enlarge Shake it up with North County's house margarita at 94 Rampart Way. - LAURA SHUNK
Shake it up with North County's house margarita at 94 Rampart Way.
Laura Shunk

North County

94 Rampart Way
720-532-0106

The lively Baja-style North County serves The Original in a miniature shaker, made with Sauza Reposado, triple sec, agave syrup and fresh lime juice. Ask for the North County Rojo if you want the same blend, only with a little added heat.

click to enlarge House margaritas and good food to match can be taken to go from Palenque. - COURTESY OF PALENQUE COCINA Y AGAVERIA
House margaritas and good food to match can be taken to go from Palenque.
Courtesy of Palenque Cocina y Agaveria

Palenque Cocina y Agaveria

2609 West Main Street, Littleton
720-245-0195

A Mexican restaurant that includes agave — the plant tequila is made from — in its name is surely a great spot for margaritas. At Palenque, the house blend comprises nothing but Tequila Arette, orange simple syrup and lime juice. But if you're feeling fancy you can gussy up your cocktail with mango, strawberry, prickly pear or muddled jalapeños, or add complexity by moving from blanco to reposado tequila.

Que Bueno Suerte uses the aptly named Suerte tequila in its house margarita. - QUE BUENO SUERTE
Que Bueno Suerte uses the aptly named Suerte tequila in its house margarita.
Que Bueno Suerte

Que Bueno Suerte

1518 South Pearl Street
720-642-7322

Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao replaces triple sec in the namesake margarita at Que Bueno Suerte, and it dials up the floral orange note so that it becomes a nice, nuanced punctuation to the tart blend of Suerte Plata tequila (a Colorado-owned, Mexican-made brand), lime and agave.

Margaritas aren't all you'll find in our Denver Restaurant Directory. Search through it to find many other options; if you own or manage a restaurant whose information isn't included, there's a form you can fill out to add your spot to the guide. Salud!
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation