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Best Margaritas

Casa Molina
Three Locations

READERS' PICK: For those who prefer the classic preparation of tequila, triple sec or Cointreau and fresh lime juice poured over a mound of ice in a frosty glass with a lightly salted rim...Ahhhh, Casa Molina. Now that's a margarita that'll inspire you to tilt at windmills. Wishing to show off the fruits of our Sonoran Desert, we once took an out-of-town friend to Casa Molina to introduce him to the finer aspects of hydration in a dry clime. Reaching for the water glass and gasping for breath after only one sip of Casa Molina's margarita, he rasped, "My God, it's practically pure Cuervo Gold!" Exactly! Living in the desert is about getting back to basics: Casa Molina's nod to the mighty agave is a rite of passage for all who dwell here.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Macayo's, 7040 E. Broadway; and 7360 N. Oracle Road.

A REAL SCREAM: At Cottonwood Café (60 N. Alvernon Way), the new art-nouveau inspired lounge is the perfect place to enjoy wide selection of tequila and tequila drinks. A little card even provides a guide to brewing and aging methods for the uninitiated aching to set out on the road to dissipation. But it's the imaginative, fruity margaritas that really stand out here. Try the mango margarita and sip the nectar of decadence.

Case History

1998 Winner: El Charro
1996 Winner: Casa Molina
1995 Winner: Chuy's

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