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We're drunk on margaritas

Taste testing our favorite tart tequila cocktail

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Other than martinis, margaritas seem to have the most fervent following. And with the plethora of options, it's no surprise. Salt? On the rocks? Jalapeño or habanero infused? Skinny? Margaritas are kind of like the Burger King of drinks, which is why we went secret shopper-like taste testing around town to find the tastiest ones.

Frozen Strawberry Margarita at Santi's
1302 Meeting St. Downtown (843) 722-2633
1471 Ben Sawyer Blvd. Mt. Pleasant (843) 388-3146
114 Holiday Drive Summerville (843) 851-2885

Omar Vera dispenses a racy frozen strawberry marg at Santi's - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Omar Vera dispenses a racy frozen strawberry marg at Santi's

Frozen margs can be sickeningly sweet, but not at Santi's, where the strawberry margarita is a deliciously refreshing treat. House tequila swirled with frozen strawberries and a bit of grenadine casts a pink drink that could easily fill in as a daiquiri alternative. We're well-versed in Santi's house margarita, which has been winning Best of Charleston for like ever, but this frozen concoction might just be our new favorite over there.

Purée's Organic Margarita
1034 Chuck Dawley Blvd. Mt. Pleasant (843) 884-5464 thinkpuree.com

Healthy and drinking go together like peanut butter and pickles — so not at all, but Purée has convinced us we can still eat and drink clean with their oxymoronic margarita. Organic tequila, agave, and fresh squeezed limes keep it fresh. But be prepared: it's tart, which is nice, but the first couple of sips will grab your tongue and wag it. Purée keeps it pure by eschewing those pre-packaged sugar-laden mixes.

Yo Burrito’s Classic fills up a mason jar - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Yo Burrito’s Classic fills up a mason jar

The Classic at Yo Burrito
77 Wentworth St. Downtown (843) 853-3287 yoburrito.com

It's called the classic for a reason, but sometimes you need a no-frills drink. Whether you take it with salt or without, Yo Bo's simple mix of tequila (Sauza Giro Gold) and house-made mix will do the trick. Unlike many of the store-bought varieties, Yo Bo's mix isn't overly sweet or tart. It's neutral — a 7 on the pH scale of margs — making it a solid go-to for your basic Mexican cocktail. They've also got a skinny version that tastes nothing like a diet margarita.

Zia Rita at Zia Taqueria
1956A Maybank Hwy. James Island (843) 406-8877 ziataco.com

The classic mixture of tequila blanco, freshly made margarita mix, and triple sec is magic in a glass. A bit tarter than Yo Bo's, this classic marg is the perfect companion to chips and salsa, fish tacos, or an al pastor torta. But it has a dangerous side. A pint goes down smooth, and you'll feel it quick — so plan accordingly.

Pineapple Margarita from Taco Boy
15 Center St. Folly Beach (843) 588-9761
217 Huger St. Downtown (843) 789-3333 tacoboy.net

Pineapple, vanilla, and cinnamon may seem like flavor overload, but when infused into Sauza Giro Gold tequila it works — and well. Orange juice and sweet-and-sour mix tone down the sweetness of the vanilla and pineapple juice. The skinny version uses agave and adds in some soda water for the perfect amount of bubbles. Trust us, a couple of these and your mood will soon match that effervescence.

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