Craving: Margaritas

Nothing like a cold margarita on a hot July day.
Lovely 'rita: Try the house offering at El Camino

Nothing like a cold margarita on a hot July day. Here are five winners, all scratch margaritas using fresh citrus juice and house-made sweet-and-sour mix. We ordered them on the rocks in 16-ounce “pounders,” with and without salted rims. Alicia Arter

La Carta de Oaxaca
The brisk house margarita is invigorating, made with un-aged Sauza Silver tequila—which has a distinct agave flavor—and a splash or so of orange-tinged triple sec. $7. Ballard, 5431 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.782.8722;

Ruth’s Chris
Who would've guessed a beef-and-martini spot would have a smooth, urbane margarita?  The Luxurita mixes Patrón Silver tequila, Cointreau and Rémy Martin VS cognac into a blend so silky it’s hard to remember this is tequila, so take it easy. $14. Downtown, 727 Pine St.; 206.624.8524;

El Camino   
The house margarita is a bracing, bright pour of slightly butterscotch-y Sauza Gold tequila with triple sec and a mouthwatering blend of fresh citrus juices. It comes in a cold tumbler rimmed with kosher salt that you may feel compelled to lick.  $7. Fremont; 607 N 35th St.; 206.632.7303;      

A drift of Patrón Citronge orange liqueur with Sauza Gold tequila gives the almost-mellow Cactus margarita a sweet citrus note that hits the back of the mouth. $7.50. Madison Park, 4220 E Madison St.; 206.324.4140;   

The Ten Dollar Margarita is a drink so good you won’t stop sipping until it’s drained, due in no small part to El Tesoro añejo, a small-batch tequila aged one to three years in oak. $10. Ballard, 2325 NW Market St.; 206.784.0699; 

Originally published in July 2010