Perfect Patron Rita, Cantina Laredo – Clayton, MO

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Perfect Patron Rita Margarita, Cantina Laredo – Clayton, MOI had previously visited Cantina Laredo in Clayton, MO and tried their Casa Rita Margarita. Unfortunately, the drink that day was not all that great. However, the restaurant was very nice and the food was good. On this day I found myself back in the vicinity so I figured it would be a good time to try another Margarita from Cantina Laredo.

I noticed a Margarita on their menu they called the Perfect Patron Rita. It was made with Patron Silver tequila and Patron Citronge liqueur. I often use Patron Citronge orange liqueur in my own Margaritas. While I can not find any definitive information on what base the Citronge liqueur is made from, given that it is made by Patron, along with the aroma from the bottle, it is highly likely that Patron makes Citronge from an agave base, which is the same thing tequila is made from. Whether it is made from agave/tequila or not, the bottom line is that when I use an orange liqueur in my Margaritas, Patron Citronge blends extremely well and does not have a bitter aftertaste “wang” like many of the French orange liqueurs do. I highly recommend that if you are going to use an orange liqueur in your Margaritas, you give Patron Citronge a try.

Anyway, because of the listed ingredients, plus I know that Cantina Laredo fresh squeezes their limes right at the bar, I was very excited to try their Perfect Patron Rita. Unfortunately, the drink that day was super tart. It had very little sweetness or tequila flavor. Since it was not well balanced, it was hard to enjoy. That’s too bad because that is twice the Margaritas here have been less than stellar. While I can only give the Margarita that day a 6, I’m sure I will be back again one day since the overall restaurant and food is very good at Cantina Laredo. Perhaps the third time will be the charm?

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Charleville Vineyard Winery – Sainte Genevieve, MO

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Charlerita Margarita, Charleville Vineyard Winery – Sainte Genevieve, MOOk, I know what you must be thinking … what’s a winery got to do with a Margarita? Well, I tend to find Margaritas everywhere I go it seems! I was out for a day visiting wineries in the Sainte Genevieve, MO area and when we stopped at the Charleville Vineyard, they had a drink they called the Charlerita – a Margarita made with wine. Of course, I had to try it.

I believe the wine they used for this drink was Chardonel or Chauvin. It smelled nice with lime being the prominent aroma. I was very much anticipating the flavor. Unfortunately, that is where the good times ended. The Charlerita is simply nothing like a good Margarita. It would appear that wine is simply not a good substitute for tequila. As a Margarita I can not in good conscience give this more than a 3. Honestly it is probably more of a 2. Even as just a generic cocktail, it had a woody flavor that just did not jive with the citrus. 3 or 4 tops – even when not classifying it as a Margarita.

I’m quite sorry, Charleville. I hate to be negative but this drink does not deserve to be called a “Rita.” At least the glass was very pretty and the view of the winery is lovely. I’d be happy to come back in the future and try again.

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The Libertine – Clayton, MO

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Traditional Margarita, The Libertine – Clayton, MO

A Traditional Margarita at The Libertine

I was out for the evening, looking to have a nice dinner. I finally got to try a place that I had been wanting to try for a long time, The Libertine in Clayton, MO. Looking over their menu, I noticed they had two Margaritas to try. So of course I was up to the challenge!

First I tried a traditional Margarita. It had very good tequila flavor but was a little soft on the citrus. However it was smooth and well-balanced. It had just a little bit of a bitter finish. Overall it was very good so I give it an 8.

Tommy's Margarita, The Libertine – Clayton, MO

Tommy’s Margarita from The Libertine. Looks virtually the same as the first, but the taste is better.

Second I tried what The Libertine called “Tommy’s Margarita.” It was made with agave nectar and not orange liqueur, very much like my standard Margarita recipe. While the drink was presented in the same glass and it looked virtually identical to the traditional Margarita I had earlier, the taste of Tommy’s Margarita was overall smoother and had no bitter finish. It was slightly more acidic but still very good. It is possible that the orange liqueur of the traditional Margarita provided the bitter finish, where Tommy’s Margarita with no orange liqueur didn’t have that flavor. I give Tommy’s an 8.5.

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Herbie’s – Clayton, MO

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Margarita, Herbie's – Clayton, MOI was walking around Clayton this afternoon out doing some shopping when it was decided to stop for a light lunch. It was actually a nice day for being mid-August in St. Louis so when we found outdoor seating at Herbie’s we decided to stop. The time seemed right to try a Margarita, so of course I did!

Things started off right as they asked what kind of tequila I preferred. This is always a good sign as that usually means the server and/or bartender takes their drinks seriously. I chose my go-to Don Julio and was excited to taste what they brought out. Unfortunately, the Margarita that day was a bit overly tart. Usually I get this type of taste when a mix is used. The Margarita did have good tequila flavor, as should be expected from Don Julio, and I tasted what seemed to be fresh lime juice, but the overall flavor just wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Oh well. I give the Margarita I had that day a 7, but I will definitely go back to Herbie’s and try again because the food was really good. Maybe next time the Margarita will be better balanced.

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Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano – Naperville, IL

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Margarita, Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano – Naperville, ILAfter having a Margarita in the hotel bar, my family went to have dinner with a friend at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano in Naperville, IL. It should not be surprising that as an Italian restaurant, they would feature an Italian-themed Margarita. After having a good experience with a previous Italian Margarita, I did not hesitate to try Biaggi’s Sicilian Margarita, especially given the ingredient list: Patron Silver Tequila, Disaronno Amaretto, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, and lime and orange juices.

I am happy to say that the Sicilian Margarita didn’t disappoint. It was very well-balanced, smooth, and flavorful. It was excellent overall, but of course it is not a standard Margarita. If you are a fan of amaretto you will probably love the Sicilian Margarita from Biaggio’s. With that caveat, for an Italian-themed Margarita I give the drink this night an 8.5.

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Entre Restaurant and Bar, Sheraton Hotel – Lisle, IL

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Margarita, Entre Restaurant and Bar, Sheraton Hotel – Lisle, ILMy family made another trip up to the Western suburbs of Chicago to visit my sister. The first night, however, we would meet a friend for dinner. We had a little time before that dinner so my wife and I went down to the hotel lobby area where they had a nice bar. They had a margarita on the bar menu so of course I needed to try one.

Named Entre Restaurant and Bar, the menu listed the “Entre Margarita” with ingredients of Patron tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh squeezed lime juice, and sweet and sour. The main ingredients were pretty solid, but the inclusion of sweet and sour mix was a little worrisome. So when I was served the drink I was hopeful with tempered expectations.

The good news was that this Margarita was tasty, if a little on the sweet side. It was overall a well-balanced and flavorful drink, but unfortunately I could discern the flavor of the sweet and sour mix and that detracted from the overall enjoyment. So to sum up, this drink was pretty much an average, albeit flavorful, Margarita so it garners a 7.5 on my scale.

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36 Restaurant and Bar – Cape Girardeau, MO

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Margarita, 36 Restaurant and Bar – Cape Girardeau, MOOn a business trip to Cape Girardeau, MO, I decided to stop in for dinner at a place with the address of 36 N. Main Street. Fittingly enough, the name of the establishment was 36 Restaurant and Bar. From the description, it appeared that 36 had an upscale selection of food and and nice bar. So I figured they would likely have a good Margarita. Of course, the proof would be in the pudding … er, the drink.

The good news for me is that I got lucky that night. 36 did serve me a very good Margarita. Also the food was excellent. So a good night all around. The Margarita had a nice overall flavor with a little bit of a pronounced tequila hit up front. Overall it was smooth and well balanced, although I would have preferred a little more lime flavor. Because of the slight lack of lime, I give the drink an 8 where I may have given it an 8.5. Regardless, this was a still a fun night with a good drink and a good dinner. So if you’re in the Cape Girardeau area, make sure to stop in to 36 Restaurant and Bar and don’t hesitate to order a Margarita.

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Ginger Margarita, Cielo Restaurant & Bar, Four Seasons Hotel – St. Louis, MO

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Ginger Margarita, Cielo Restaurant & Bar – St. Louis, MOOn a nice summer’s evening my wife and I found ourselves at Cielo’s once again for some rooftop dining. And once again I decided to sample a different type of Margarita.

This time from Cielo’s I found a Ginger Margarita with listed ingredients including Sauza Blanco tequila, dry orange Curacau, Big O Ginger liqueur, and lime juice. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the ingredients were very similar to the Barrel Aged Margarita I had a few months earlier at Cielo’s. While I was a little disappointed in the Barrel Aged Margarita at the time, the good news was that this particular version of a Ginger Margarita was excellent.

For those who may like specialty Margaritas or a ginger flavored Margarita in particular, this is the way it should be made. At its core it is a great traditional Margarita with well-balanced flavors of lime and tequila. Then the addition of the ginger liqueur did not overpower the other flavors but instead integrated nicely, adding the spice of real ginger and the sweetness of the liqueur to make one very fine tasting drink.

Overall, this was one of the best ginger flavored Margaritas I have ever had. While not everyone likes real ginger flavor, if you do like ginger and you also like Margaritas, you will love the Ginger Margarita from Cielo. As a speciality Margarita, I give the Ginger Margarita I had that night at Cielo an 8.5 rating.

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Strawberry Lemongrass Infused Margarita, Mangia Italiano – St. Louis, MO

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Strawberry Lemongrass Infused Margarita, Mangia Italiano – St. Louis, MOAfter a vacation in Mexico, when arriving back home to the St. Louis area what else would one do but visit an Italian restaurant, right? My wife had visited Mangia Italiano recently and highly recommended that I should visit there and try one of their House Infused Margaritas. So who am I to refuse a lady’s wishes?

The menu listed either a hibiscus or strawberry lemongrass infused tequila as options for their Margarita. I opted for the strawberry lemongrass tequila, and the other ingredients were elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. Some interesting ingredients for sure but at least they seemed fresh and tasty. The good news is that this was an excellent Margarita, even with the offbeat ingredients and infused tequila. The flavors were all very well balanced. It was just the right amount of sweet and tart components combined with a great tequila taste. Now I could not really discern the strawberry and/or lemongrass flavors infused in the tequila, so I must assume they just contributed to the overall sweetness of the drink. I give the Strawberry Lemongrass infused Margarita at Mangia Italiano an 8.5 for this visit. The next time I’ll need to try the Hibiscus infusion and let you know how that is.

If you’re looking for a really solid Margarita in the Grand Avenue area of St. Louis, don’t overlook this particular Italian restaurant! Mangia Italiano really knows their drinks!

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Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar, Cancun Airport – Cancun, Mexico

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Margarita, Guy Fieri's American Kitchen and Bar – Cancun, MexicoOur family was waiting at the airport in Cancun, Mexico after a stay at a resort in Riviera Maya. We were grabbing a late breakfast/early lunch and I decided that we should have one last Margarita before leaving the country. Luckily we found Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar inside the airport and they were serving Margaritas even at around 9:30 in the morning!

Now it’s difficult to know how good a Margarita served from a place inside an airport will be. But I was hopeful since this was a full bar and the bartender seemed to know what he was doing. Luckily, we did get a tasty Margarita. It had a good balance of flavors and the lime taste did stand out. My only complaint was that the overall flavor combination was just a little on the weak side and I would have a liked it to taste a little bit fresher. But for a last hurrah in Mexico while waiting inside an airport, it was a nice way to say goodbye. I rate the Margarita I had this visit at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar a 7.5.

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