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Sip, swallow and repeat: These spots serve our favorite margaritas

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Posted at 11:00 AM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 09:41:38-04

A margarita is a simple drink -- tequila, lime and triple sec -- but the variations are endless and it takes some tricks to get it right.

Here are WCPO's picks for the top margaritas in Cincinnati.

DOWNTOWN/OVER-THE-RHINE

Nada (Downtown): Whether by the bottle or glass, Nada's margaritas are on the sweet side but delicious. Beyond the classic lime, this restaurant offers a few variations, such as chile-mango. Nada offers the Nadarita, a margarita with El Jimador tequila, house curaçao, agave and fresh lime.

Condado Tacos (Downtown): This Columbus-based, build-your-own taco joint opened its first Cincinnati location at the Banks this year. Condado boasts a nearly infinite number of flavor combinations, plus a few recommended standards, for both its tacos and margaritas. It also offers margarita flights.

Bakersfield (Over-the-Rhine): Bakersfield probably serves the most margaritas in town, always fresh and delicious. Go for the spicy margarita, infused with jalapeños, for a kick that isn't too hot, or splurge for the premium margarita with a float of Grand Marnier. 

CENTRAL

Mazunte (Oakley): Mazunte's tart margaritas are great to sip while waiting for your tacos. The margarita on the rocks is a classic, with tequila, triple sec and lime. And if you want something a little different on a Sunday, try a michelada: beer, lime and tomato juice. (It's a Mexican bloody mary.)

Cactus Pear (Clifton): Want a frozen margarita? Grab one at Cactus Pear, which features a delicious blood orange margarita, as well as other flavors including prickly pear and mango. They go beautifully with the eatery's odd-colored but tasty signature salsa.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

Frida 602 (Covington): Aside from serving killer tacos and other Mexican food, Frida has several excellent margaritas featuring its well-curated tequila selection. Frida's classic margarita is available both by the glass and pitcher. Or try one of the specialty margaritas, such as the prickly pear.

El Rancho Grande (multiple locations): Sometimes you just need a margarita as big as your head. This is the place to get them, in sizes ranging from large to larger to "Call an Uber." You can get them in multiple flavors, frozen -- however you want.

La Mexicana (Newport): La Mexicana has an adorable bar in the front of its taqueria and tienda, but you don't have to sit there to get the delicious margaritas! These are, like at El Rancho Grande, available in multiple sizes, as well as frozen. They definitely have a kick, so be careful: Soak them up with plenty of chips and guacamole, or chorizo con huevos.

AT HOME

Don't want to leave the house? Making a margarita is easy.

Choose your favorite tequila -- I use El Arco -- and your favorite triple sec (Cointreau, Patron Citronage and Luxardo Triplum are all great choices).

You'll also need lime juice and simple syrup, which is easy to make. Boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together and let it cool; it'll keep in your refrigerator for a week or two.

To make one margarita, combine 1 1/2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce triple sec, 3/4 ounce lime juice and 1/4 ounce simple syrup. Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice until cold, and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with salt.

Want a pitcher? Mix 1 1/2 cups cups of tequila, 1 cup triple sec, 3/4 cup of lime juice and 1/4 cup of simple syrup. Fill a pitcher with 4 to 6 cups of ice, pour the mix over it and stir until chilled and some ice has melted.