By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Varieties of margaritas aren’t just limited to on the rocks or frozen drinks. Along with the usual ingredients of tequila and lime or lemon juice, restaurants and bars throughout Chicago are mixing things up with their margaritas. From fresh cucumber to vanilla bean flavors, test your palate with these unique libations. Most are available all year round and not just for Cinco de Mayo festivities.
Fonda del Mar
3749 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Hours: Mon to Tues – Closed, Wed to Thurs – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fri to Sat – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sun – 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
What makes Fonda del Mar unique in the margarita marketplace is that it’s BYOB. Bring your own tequila, and for just $12, Fonda del Mar will fill a pitcher with margarita mix. The best part is, you’re going home with the remaining tequila. The margaritas go perfectly with the seafood-centric menus, especially the spicy ceviche.
1835 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
Hours: Mon to Tues – 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wed to Fri – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun – 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
With an extensive menu of quality tequilas, Bucktown’s Las Palmas’ variety of margaritas is no surprise. Patrons can order a classic margarita or try one of Las Palmas’ seven unique margaritas, ranging from $9 to $35, to sip while chowing down on gourmet Mexican. Two drinks worth trying are the pomegranate-flavored Granadita, made with Don Julio Blanco, lime juice and Gran Gala liqueur and the Jarochita, with vanilla bean pineapple infused tequila, fresh pineapple juice and a splash of Malibu Rum. On Margarita Mondays, pitchers start as low as $22. Drink and food specials will be available on Cinco de Mayo.
Related: Chicago’s Best Margarita
Mayan Palace Mexican Cuisine
2703 Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri to Sat – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The prices for margaritas may be high at Mayan Palace, but the sizes help compensate for those couple extra bucks. Head to the palace on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when all margaritas are just half price. Whether you’re looking for tamarind or mango flavor, frozen or on the rocks, the splurge is worth it. A special festive concoction will be available only this Cinco de Mayo – a Paloma that combines tequila, Squirt and lime.
Salud Tequila Lounge
1471 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
Hours: Mon to Fri – 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat – 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Sun – Closed
Constantly reinventing its cocktail menu, Salud Tequila Lounge offers a new featured drink every month. Some of the combinations may sound unbelievable, but are always guaranteed to be delicious. Try the chocolate-covered strawberry margarita, for instance, which features fresh strawberries, agave nectar and lime juice. Throw back $5 margaritas on Wednesdays or taste test a $9 Margarita Of The Month on Saturdays. For Cinco de Mayo, head to Salud for its annual street fest, complete with a live salsa band and drink specials lasting all day long.
2585 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
This Mexican restaurant with a Caribbean twist offers a build-your-own jumbo margarita option. Pick each component and see just how creative you can get. If you don’t feel like testing your mixology skills, choose from one of the Tarascas specialties like the Sangria Swirl Margarita. Grab a $5 margarita on Mondays or go big on Tuesdays and get $4 off a jumbo margarita that clocks in at a whopping 45.5 ounces.
Related: Best Breakfast Cocktails
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.