Cocktail: Alma Blanca
Find it: La Condesa 400 W 2nd St Austin, TX
The lounge of this upscale, modern Mexican was the first stop on our grand taco & margarita farewell tour with friends, led by local vegan experts Lazy Smurf and Chris & Crystal of Food for Lovers, who even created a very special spreadsheet for the evening who got to pour over in advance.
You should really head to their elaborate cocktail list and choose your own danger to begin. I don’t know what else I can say about my order, the following Alma Blanca, that isn’t imagined by its description: “habanero-infused siembra azul blanco, ginger liqueur, agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn (!!!), hoja de hierba santa, hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim”. Believe me, the memory remains.
There was also am exciting guacamole flight, but I’m sure you can understand that I was focused on sampling over stopping to take a photograph, as the others in our group my their own tough decisions of guac vs. photo vs. guac vs. cocktail sipping.
Cocktails: Cucumber Margarita & The Bill Buckin’ Murray*
Find It: Spiderhouse Cafe 2908 Fruth St Austin, TX
The cucumber margarita, pictured below, was a ridiculously juicy fresh cocktail (thanks to the on-site Daily Juice Cafe) to be reckoned with, and one that made me half-wishing it was a hot and sunny day. That’s big. This was actually my second cocktail of this particular evening, the first being the irresistibly titled Bill Buckin’ Murray*, which I don’t think I’m making up, but it no longer seems to be on the menu. Anyhow, the name was so dang inviting that I almost ordered this spicy, boozy ginger cocktail without realizing it contained my arch nemesis, gin (thank you, Fung Wah bus ride hangover of 2005), and found myself quickly requesting a tequila sub.
…because in my head, in Austin, that’s rational.
Cocktail: House Margarita
Find It: Güero’s Taco Bar 1412 S Congress Ave Austin, TX
We hit up vegan-friendly Güero’s, which you may recognize from Tarantino’s Deathproof (or so they tell me), for requisite margaritas and tasty, tomato-y house soy chorizo tacos de sulud, along with plenty more freshly mashed guac,on our second day in town.
As you can ascertain, this cocktail tour isn’t exactly in order, but more importantly, I want to express how enjoyable even the mere house margarita were in this town.
Cocktails: La Partida and House Specialty Margaritas
Find It: Curra’s Grill 614 East Oltorf St Austin, TX
Our spreadsheet-sourced taco and margarita crawl decided on Curra’s for dinner on our final evening, and the avocado margaritas were flowing! I was wary of the noted cilantro and ordered otherwise, as pictured above, but after a sip of a friend’s, I must say that it was very mild and the drink was just…luscious.
I stuck to margaritas after my attempt to break into the world of Mexican martinis was halted by the bar being short an ingredient. No complaints here.
Cocktail: The Linda
Find It: Icenhauer’s 83 Rainey St Austin, TX
This Rainy Street bar had a very appealing chalkboard of infused bourbon specials with a Southern flare (including sweet potato and pecan) that almost had me reconsidering my dedication to tequila on our final evening.As a person who’s been known to sneak hot sauce into any margarita, I could not, however, pass up on ordering the Linda.Technically more of a cocktail vs. a margarita (or so I’m learning), the Linda was a tad sweeter than I’d like, but regardless, it was a nicely spiced delight with its fresh lime juice and chili-infused syrup.
Cocktail: Cucumber Margarita
Find It: Vivo Restaurant
Home of the vegan puffy taco phenomenon and dangerously close to our budget hotel, we hungrily stopped by Vivo for dinner and drinks our first night in Austin…and I don’t think any of us wanted the dinner (and margaritas, chips, and salsa) to end. The gorgeous and fruity margarita below was a real game changer in my cocktail-drinking knowledge, and like I continue to rave, pretty much took my more-than-worthwhile margarita virginity.
This cucumber margarita, the easy winner of the two I tried on our trip, featured Silver, Cointreau, house-made cucumber puree, fresh-squeezed lime, simple syrup and a rim of Hawaiian black sea salt. Such a delight and perfect start to the trip.
Beer: Austin Beerworks Peacemaker, Extra Pale Ale
Find It: Violet Crown Social Club 1111 E. 6th St Austin, TX
The round-up is winding down, so it’s time for a traditional late night beer break.
How could I resist ending the evening with an frosty can of local pale ale over a square piece of curious, Detroit-style pizza from VIA 313? As if.
Drink: Ginger Kombucha from Buddha’s Brew
Find It: Wheatsville Coop 3101 S Guadalupe St Austin, TX
Some days, iced coffee won’t cut it, and I can definitely get down with a puckered, eye-opening, chilled kombucha on a warm morning.
I picked up two local kombuchas from the home of surely world-famous popcorn tofu (and spicy popcorn tofu! – and don’t fret, we also tried both tacos and po boys here) and one is oddly still waiting in my fridge: Wheatsville’s Pear of the Dog, from Kosmic Kombucha. It contains prickly pear, lime, orange, agave, sea salt and be still my heart: olive juice. I need to get on that, it sounds mystifying.
We did, indeed, wave farewell to the margaritas:
A hot day of not-so-secret location scouting = sodas for team VVC.
Needless to say, we had a blast picking up hot sauce, BBQ sauce, dried peppers, spices and other fun stuff at Fiesta Mart.
Let’s close with a partial shot of the La Condesa salt bar, a world of inspiration with hibiscus-infused, smoked, Hawaiian black salt and more – in short, I’ll be installing a margarita-specific salt alcove in my pantry.
I have three quick words for you to end this trip: No hangovers involved.
P.S. Tacos to follow! Really.