The only time my ears perk up for a national food day is when it revolves around drinks. And when that drink happens to be a favorite, it’s usually celebrated wholeheartedly.
This Wednesday, February 22, is National Margarita Day, and there’s no better way to take in the day than a proper crawl through Orange County’s margarita epicenter: Downtown Santa Ana. Here are five variations on the classic tequila, triple sec, and lime cocktail that are totally worth a short jaunt down DTSA’s Fourth Street.
That New-New: Club 616
Club 616 just opened on the far east end of Fourth Street with the most gorgeous late ’60s vibe. Sip their pebble ice margarita around their outdoor fire pit, or bellied up at the hip bar in one of the cushy leather seats. 616’s margarita switches it up with demerara and orange shrub, making it truly tasty. 616 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
The Unique: Pollo at El Mercado
You can get your margarita two ways at El Mercado: classic, or pollo … the latter containing no meat, but rather tamarindo puree and agave nectar. A warning, however: this drink has a high level of drinkability, and you have to remind yourself not to order another as there’s still a few stops to go. 301 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana
New Menu Item: Gucci Flip Flops at Vacation Bar
On paper, Vacation Bar’s Gucci Flip Flops might be a head-scratcher, but after one sip, you’ll feel all the tropical margarita vibes. It’s made with añejo tequila, elote liqueur, and a passion fruit aperol foam, garnished with ghost pepper and sea salt. Aperol in a margarita is so Gucci! 204 W. 4th St., Santa Ana
The Absolute Classic: Recess Bar
Perhaps you made a pit stop at the 4th Street Market food hall for some Tuk Tuk Thai or a much-needed Burrito La Palma queso y birria. While there, do not skip Recess Bar’s classic, perfectly balanced margarita that’s as simple as a daisy. 201 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
The Old School: Lola Gaspar
Finish out the crawl with some of the best margarita-drinking ambiance al fresco at the historic Santora building. There’s something alluring about the kitchen’s mesquite aroma amongst the sound of the trickling fountain while you’re sipping a margarita. It feels like a vacation. 211 W. 2nd St., Santa Ana