Where to celebrate National Tequila Day in Austin
If there's one liquor that Austinites love just a little more than all the rest, it's tequila — the spirit made from the agave plant by our neighbors to the south. What that means, of course, is that we're going to take National Tequila Day very seriously.
One of the most Austin-relevant of arbitrary national holidays, National Tequila Day is on July 24 every year. Falling midweek this time, it'll be just the pick-me-up we need to get through the rest of the week.
To celebrate the Mexican spirit, head to one of these local bars and restaurants. And consider, perhaps, branching out from our usual tequila-cocktail standby, the margarita. Oh, there's no doubt the margarita is a masterful cocktail that can be made with simply three ingredients — tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur — but let's get a little adventurous. Here's where to go and what to drink while there, margarita or not.
ATX Cocina, 110 San Antonio St. Ste. 170. This downtown restaurant focused on modern Mexican cuisine has an extensive list of tequila and mezcal that you can try neat in 1 to 1 1/2 oz. pours. Or you can opt for a cocktail instead, such as the Sweet Desert Rose with blanco tequila, locally produced Desert Door sotol, strawberry-habanero syrup and lime.
The Driskill Bar, 604 Brazos St. Feel all the Texas vibes while enjoying your tequila drink. Much of the decor, including rustic leather couches, cowhide bar stools and even a large Texas longhorn over the fireplace, will remind you of our great state while you sip the Carlotta. Featuring Dulce Vida Tequila, jalapeño orange syrup, Peychaud's bitters and ginger beer, it'll be $7.50 during 4 to 7 p.m. happy hour and 10 p.m. to midnight reverse happy hour.
El Alma, 1025 Barton Springs Rd. The whitewashed rooftop patio at this South Austin spot is beckoning for a happy hour visit. Sit back with one of El Alma's colorful margaritas — which include everything from avocado to ghost pepper tequila — but if you stick with the house 'rita (El Jimador Silver, triple sec, fresh lime juice and agave), it'll be $5 all day today.
El Naranjo, 85 Rainey St. You might not expect Rainey Street to have one of the best Mexican restaurants in town. At this cozy bungalow, the primarily agave-based cocktails are terrific, too, such as the slightly spicy Pepinisimo with Don Julio silver tequila, muddled cucumber, orange liqueur, Ancho Reyes Verde liqueur and lime juice.
Fonda San Miguel, 2330 W. North Loop Blvd. Have you ever had dragon fruit in a cocktail? Now's your chance. At this hacienda-style Mexican restaurant, Casa Dragones blanco tequila, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and lemon juice mix with dragon fruit in the Madre de Dragones. The unusual-looking fruit tastes like a cross between a pear and a kiwi, so you can expect it to add nice dimension to this summery drink.
Güero’s Taco Bar, 1412 S. Congress Ave. The iconic South Congress restaurant has paired up with local tequila brand Dulce Vida to celebrate National Tequila Day with margaritas and music in the Oak Garden. And the Vida Rita that will be on special for the evening, with Dulce Vida blanco, Cointreau and lime juice, is just about as divine as a margarita can get. Go ahead and savor it.
Las Perlas Austin, 403 E. Seventh St. Looking like it was brought straight from Oaxaca, this downtown mezcalaria is the place to go if you're looking to taste your way through Mexico's beautifully nuanced spirits. For some heat, order the tequila-based Spiced Daisy, a vibrant green color thanks to the addition of cilantro and fresh-pressed jalapeños.
Native Hostel, 707 E. Fourth St. OK, we're clearly missing a frozen tequila drink in this list. To rectify that, we'll share one of Native Hostel's all-day National Tequila Day specials. The Dulce Vida Grapefruit Frozen, featuring Dulce Vida's grapefruit-flavored tequila, Aperol, rosé and a dash of taijin, isn't quite a paloma and is certainly not frosé. But it's surely what this hot day needs.
Punch Bowl Social, 11310 Domain Dr. Try your tequila four different ways at this massive adult playground at the Domain. Among the cocktails on offer here — some of which are brand-new — are El Macho (reposado tequila, muddled cucumber, house-made cardamom syrup and lime juice) and the shareable Watermelon Polo Punch (reposado tequila, Teakoe's Watermelon Spearmint Tea, McClary Bros' watermelon shrub, house-made strawberry syrup and lime juice).
Trace at the W, 200 Lavaca St. There will be three $7 National Tequila Day specials at this downtown restaurant. Among them is the Pineapple of My Eye, a most interesting amalgamation of flavors: Playa Real pineapple tequila, pineapple juice and house-made chai-spiced dulce de leche syrup. Sweet, fruity and vegetal, it'll help to show off tequila's versatility.