Drink of the Day, National Margarita Day Edition: El Meson

Saturday, February 22 is officially National Margarita Day, which, of course, is something Austinites typically celebrate every day. In honor of all things tequila and lime, today’s drink of the day comes from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, El Meson. El Meson, mentioned here, is home to some of the best interior Mexican dishes in Austin, especially given their wallet friendly prices. In addition, El Meson has also always had a respectable margarita program, thanks in large part to the restaurant’s use of fresh ingredients over premade mixes.

However, the South Lamar restaurant upped the ante in recent months by expanding their list to include both traditional and modern mezcal and tequila-based cocktail offerings. I couldn’t get enough of one of these additions, the mezcal-based El Fresa, during my last visit to the restaurant. The well-balanced combination of sweet muddled strawberries and balsamic vinegar against the smoky mezcal and peppery basil is fantastic. Though not exactly a traditional margarita per say, it’s a drink that needs no reason to enjoy.


El Fresa at El Meson

El Fresa at El Meson

El Meson South Lamar, 2038 South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704. 512.442.4441.

Looking for more? Here are a few other spots that boast standout margaritas:

Texas Chili Parlor – Despite with this blog has led you to believe, the Texas Chili Parlor does actually serve other cocktails besides the infamous Drew Drink. The TCP’s deadly margarita, made entirely of fresh squeezed limes, triple sec, and tequila, might just be the best $5.00 you’ll spend all Saturday. 1409 Lavaca Street. 

El Naranjo – Mentioned here, El Naranjo’s broad selection of tequila offerings, combined to the restaurant’s commitment to quality, makes these margaritas exceptional. A little on the pricier side, but well worth it. 85 Rainey Street. Continue reading Drink of the Day, National Margarita Day Edition: El Meson

Summer Drinks: Second Bar + Kitchen

Today’s drink of the day is Second Bar + Kitchen’s ode to the original gin & juice: the Gin & Jam. In this silver spooned version of the magic elixir made famous by Snoop Dogg Lion, the ‘juice’ is a heaping spoonful of housemade jam.

Whereas many jammed-up cocktails are shaken before being served, Second’s deconstructed version features a stiff pour of Monopolowa gin on the rocks with a mound of jam meant to be stirred in as one drinks. Second offers two seasonal offerings: Blackberry Fresno Lime Marmalade and a Strawberry-Watermelon Jam.

Gin and Jam - $8

Gin and Jam – $8

Of the two flavors, I preferred the blackberry version. The still-plump blackberries gave the marmalade plenty of fruit flavor while the subtle lime notes made it surprisingly less sweet than expected. Continue reading Summer Drinks: Second Bar + Kitchen

Summer Drinks, National Tequila Day Edition: El Naranjo

In honor of National Tequila Day, it’s only fitting to highlight one of my favorite tequila –based cocktails in town: the La Fresa from El Naranjo. This little glass of goodness, featuring Jimador Silver tequila, freshly muddled strawberries, agave nectar, and lime juice, has a nice balance of sweet and citrus flavors and packs a strong enough punch to get your evening started off right.

Forget the mixes and sweeteners; like everything the interior Mexican restaurant serves, El Naranjo’s cocktails are rooted in authenticity and created using high-quality, natural ingredients. For the true tequila connoisseur, El Naranjo’s menu includes . . . → Read More: Summer Drinks, National Tequila Day Edition: El Naranjo

Drink of the Day: Hot Chocolate @Cafe Medici

Somewhere between Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and the frosty morning air I found myself inspired to forgo the usual cup of Jo for something a little extra special on a recent coffee run. Instead of doubling up on shots of espresso, I listened to my inner child and ordered a hot chocolate from Café Medici. Considering most the hot chocolates I’ve consumed were of the instant variety, this was quite a treat on several levels. While Café Medici’s baristas are known for doling out seriously brilliant espresso, it was pleasantly surprising to find they approached a simple hot chocolate . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day: Hot Chocolate @Cafe Medici

Drink/Dish of the Day: Contigo Austin

Ailed by cabin fever from the recent rainy weather, we headed east to be cured by Contigo’s crafty cocktails and comfort eats. While the evening was full of tasty dishes, two standouts inspire today’s dual dish and drink of the day.

Although my summertime drink of choice is usually a Moscow Mule, my wise waiter encouraged me to go out of the box and try the Fredericksburg Crush.  Between the seasonal, sweet peaches and aromatic rosemary it made for a refreshing and inventive cocktail I highly recommend sampling.

Fredericksburg Crush – $9

As for the gold medal winner of the evening, Contigo’s daily sausage special featuring bacon was the hands down favorite. While bacon and sausage hardly rank on my list of top foods, our waiter touted it as a dish too good to pass up. After such a glowing recommendation we decided the only possible recourse was to order it as an extra shared entrée. To say this was a wise move is a blatant understatement because it was outstanding.

Daily Sausage Special – $10

Continue reading Drink/Dish of the Day: Contigo Austin

Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Following a Friday night enjoyed to its full potential and an early Saturday morning spent moving, we escaped to Elizabeth Street Café for a much needed relaxing lunch. With legs too tired to wait for a table, we beelined it to take advantage of the bar’s open seating. While pursuing the menu it was hard not to notice the sriracha-filled concoction being whipped up behind the bar. Our bartender informed us the drink in question was Elizabeth Street’s beer punch. After watching him chop, measure, and season said drink with increasing mouthwatering curiosity, we put aside a previously hatched . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Drink of the Day: San Jose Hotel

Boasting one of the most relaxing patios in town, sipping cocktails poolside at the San Jose Hotel is escapism at its finest. It is hard to believe this hotel once represented the seedy underbelly of South Congress prior to the street’s miraculous transformation not so long ago. Now that those gory days have become glory days, the San Jose Hotel offers a mini oasis from the hustle and bustle of South Congress’s crowded sidewalks. The modern, minimalistic lobby bar opens to an inviting (and generally packed) stone patio and pool area filled with the hotel’s hip clientele. The courtyard . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day: San Jose Hotel

Drink of the Day, Holiday Edition: Four Seasons Lobby Bar

Today’s drink of the day is a Poinsettia Champagne cocktail as featured on the Four Season’s holiday drink menu.The Poinsettia cocktail is a blend of champagne, Paula’s Texas orange and cranberry juice. Other special holiday beverages on the menu include German Mulled Wine, the Peppermint Patty, Hot Buttered Rum, the Mistletoe Mojito, and Santa’s Little Helper (full descriptions here). Despite a fairly warm December, it is easy to pretend you’re escaping a winter wonderland while holed up in the Lobby Bar on a thick leather couch next to a warm fire place. Along with a holiday themed cocktail menu, . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day, Holiday Edition: Four Seasons Lobby Bar