Monday, June 8, 2009


Courtney gives this margarita 5 out of 10 lime (not lemon) wedges.

I'm beginning to see a recurring theme with pubs and margaritas...they do not go hand in hand. Shocking, I know. Mulley's did have a couple things working in it's favor- mostly a generous portion and a quiet courtyard with strings of lights overhead that felt very appropriate while enjoying a margarita (this definitely gave them an extra point in my book- these were the only things Phoebe's was lacking!). Taste was lacking...from the start it tasted like the bottom of a drink when all the ice had melted. That being said, it wasn't bad, just not that good either. There was no salt, and as you know this is a grave sin in my book. Finally, it was garnished with a lemon wedge. We snooped a bit in our state of shock, and saw the cut limes that the bartender passed to use a lemon- who does that?!

Angela gives this margarita 4 out of 10 lime wedges.

After a few hours strolling through the Taste of Syracuse event downtown, and rockin' to an 80's cover band of old men with long hair, tight clothes, and missing teeth, what could top the evening off better than a nice, cold margarita at Mulley's Irish Pub? That's exactly what you where thinking too, I'm sure. I find Mulley's outdoor courtyard its most attractive feature, much more than the Mulley's margarita. First, the technicalities. Salt was not an option. Frozen was also not an option, but I give no demerits for that. And the garnish - a LEMON wedge. Can anyone explain this to me? And the LIME wedges were right next to the lemon wedges. After a breif moment of paralysis, we took a huge glass of something that had the color of maragrita to the courtyard. The taste was flat and boring, not one to savor, but I can't say it was terrible either. It was not too sweet or too sour, but just too weak and uninteresting. It reminded me of drinking a lemon-lime gatorade.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Courtney gives this margarita 8.5 out of 10 lime wedges.

What an unexpectedly great margarita! This was by far the best margarita I have tried since starting the mission. The salt was perfect, the lime girthy, and the drink itself had a wonderful flavor and was very well-balanced. The yin and yang of sweet and sour was perfectly rounded out by the hint of nice tequila not overpowering the citrus flavor. I did have to deduct points for the glass, since it was served in a rocks glass better suited for a gimlet or Manhattan. If this margarita had been served in a proper glass in a more tropical setting, it would have gotten 10 out of 10 wedges and a bonus shot of tequila!

Angela gives Phoebe's margarita 8.5 out of 10 lime wedges.

I still prefer the taste of the Genessee margarita best, but considering this margarita also hit the sweet and sour balance, PLUS had no technical missteps (other than the rocks glass), fairness calls for a slightly higher score. The tequila flavor did not percolate through the cocktail so much, which I appreciate. Do you? Should we poll the audience on this question? For me, just a few eye drops more of tequila and a stem on the glass and this margarita would come close to a Mary Lou Retton score.


Courtney gives this margarita 1 out of 10 lime wedges.

This was a bad margarita experience from the moment the drink was delivered until the bill came. There are only two positive things I can comment on: there was a large selection of tequila options and the sour mix was homemade. We decided to try one traditional margarita and one made with Grand Marnier instead of triple sec (bad decision- this resulted in a margarita that was tooooooooo sweet and tasted like orange cold medicine). First, the glass was rimmed in table salt. Yes, table salt. And while it wasn't completely bad at first, it kept tasting worse and worse as we were drinking. Finally, my brilliant cohort Angie figured it out....if you let the drink sit in your mouth a minute, it tasted like the ocean. Apparently the salt had gotten into the glass and since it was table salt had dissolved very quickly, and by the time we got to the bottom of the glass it was practically straight saline. Completely disappointed in this experience we asked for the check, and discovered these two subpar margaritas were the most expensive we have tried thus far- $8 and $11. Paying $21 for two bad margaritas was just (ahem) pouring salt on the wound.

Angela gives the Redfield's classic margarita a 3 out of 10 lime wedges, and the Grand Marnier margarita 2 out of 10 limes wedges.

These margaritas had a lot of potential: quality ingredients, lovely stemware and garnish. While the table salted rim sparkled and looked quite nice, it single-handedly spoiled the taste. The first few sips of the classic margarita were pretty good, but something tasted funny. I just couldn't peg it down. Half-way through the drink, the culprit was screaming. The table salt! Imagine a margarita with a teaspoon of table salt IN it. That's the Redfield's margarita. No doubt, they use table salt for the looks. I'm sure the kind bartenders are completely in the dark of the full effects of this immense error. I now regret that I didn't object, not so much to get our $$$ back, even though the cost was so outragous that it "shocks the conscious" (economic crisis mean anything to you, pal??!) and the error was so disastrous that is warranted restitution, but simple courtsey called for it. I pity the next person that orders a margarita from Redfield's, wishing to escape to a sandy place but ends up eating the sand.

The Grand Manier margarita had the same unforgiving error, although less pronounced. They don't call Grand Manier "grand" for nothing. I little goes a long way, and too much makes this potentially delightful margarita too sweet for an additional $3 more. Too much sand, too much "grand" and too much coin make Redfield's margaritas a loser. P.S. If you think of another word for money and rhymes with sand let me know!

The Genesee Grande

Courtney gives this margarita 7 out of 10 lime wedges.

We walked into the bar at the Genesee Grande, parched from our long trek down from the law school. It was dark, full of rich woods and richer business people enjoying an after work cocktail. We went to the bar, shocking the bartender by ordering margaritas instead of scotch or bourbon. The bartender wiped the dust off the bottle of tequila at this classy bar and proceeded to pour it, followed by triple sec and sours. Shockingly, there was no shaking or stirring of any kind, although a lime wedge was thrown in for good measure. For the first time in the mission, the margarita came packaged in some much appreciated stemware, although the salt we asked for was missing. It was a little too strong for my liking, but it was a nice tequila so I didn't mind. The taste was very nice, although in my opinion missed the traditional margarita flavor, probably because no lime juice was added (squeezing the garnish helped in this regard, and I would suggest to that in the future one ask for two limes). Because I found it to be lacking that classic lime flavor, while I enjoyed the drink I thought it resembled more a tequila sour (if such a thing exists) than a margarita. As was the feel of the bar itself, this cocktail was more a wingtip pounding pavement than a flip-flop in the sand.

Angela gives the Genesse margarita 8 out of 10 limes wedges.

High fives to beautiful friend Bridget who joined our mission. So far, the Genesee margarita is my personal favorite. Customarilly, we orderd the margaritas "mission style," that is, on the rocks with salt, but alas, a few (arguably negligible) factors were faulty. Despite our request, there was no salt. There was no shaking of the cocktail, not even a stir. The lime was carelessly pitched into the drink that just cost me $6.50. Oh dear. With so many misses (even before a sip!), how, do you ask, does this attempt at a margarita deserve praise? The taste, baby (and the stemware, but above all the taste). The balance of sweet and sour was near perfection, and mmmmmm... te te tequila! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I like tequila. While hitting the sweet and sour balance, this mixture also allowed the lushious tequila flavor to tickle your tongue. It brought a slow grin to my face as my shoulders dropped in relaxation, but woe is me, not on the beach. This is an excellent night-time, take the edge off, margarita. It is not a drink-all-day on the beach, in the sun margarita, hence the less than perfect score.


We're looking for suggestions as we plan our next few outings...comment below and tell us where we should go!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The mission continues...

Tuesday, June 2, around 5ish we're continuing the mission. Get in touch with one of us if you want to join and we can give you details. Viva la margarita!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Hafner's Tavern is located on Taft Road in North Syracuse. While taverns are not known for margaritas, we gave it a shot since this local hangout is usually crowded. Special thanks to Sonya for taking notes and, more importantly, buying the drinks!

Angela gives this margarita 1 out of 10 lime wedges.

Oh dear. This margarita was a disaster. I first considered giving this margarita a 4/10 lime wedges, mainly for the heavy pour of tequila, albeit cheap tequila. But considering whether I'd ever order a margarita from Hafner's again, the answer is an iron clad NO. This margarita tasted like a lemon-lime jolly rancher. It was so sweet, I was concerned my teeth might rot. What did the lovely breasted bartender put in it from the soda dispenser??? Lemonade!!! But not real lemonade. No doubt it was Minute Maid type lemon flavored sugar water. That stuff is like poison and just plain gross. Terrible terrible terrible. That is all.

WARNING: Hafner's margaritas may cause pucker face!

Courtney gives this margarita 3.5 out of 10 lime wedges.

"Wow.... this was a disappointment. As a northern 'burb native, Hafner's has become one of my favorite spots for a great meal and a few beers. Apparently that's what I should keep going for, because this margarita was tough to drink and even tougher to finish. It was like drinking a sweet-tart, which a 19 year old sorority girl might enjoy but not margarita elitists like Angela and myself. Watching the (young, cute, scantily clad...I add for those readers that would enjoy a margarita more based on who made it) bartender make this drink caused our jaws to drop with every move she made. 'Is that lime juice from concentrate? Montezuma's tequila?! Where did she learn how to salt a's just globbed on in a couple spots!! Oh my...what is....LEMONADE?! Did she really just add lemonade?!?' To top it off: $5 a drink. I can add some points to a margarita if it is a steal, but a $5 margarita should be more than cheap tequila and lemonade consumed in a dark bar while being hit on by men not deterred by my wedding ring. I definitely learned my lesson, and the next time I go to Hafner's it will be for good pub food and a pint."

The Retreat

The Retreat in Liverpool, NY offers frozen and traditional margaritas as well as Strawberry and Raspberry flavors. Special thanks to our photographer and scribe, Sonya.

Courtney gives The Retreat 6 out of 10 limes wedges.

"Feeling the need to drink a margarita near some body of water, we ventured to Liverpool. The Retreat is next to the lake and has a patio, which is about as tropical as you're going to get in Syracuse. Having heard tales of plastic cups and lackluster margaritas, I had low expectations but knew that the mission demanded a sample. The waitress was not amused by our explanation of the mission, which would have immediately lowered the score if I was not such a fair person. But, I definitely docked half a point for the next words out of her mouth: frozen or on the rocks. Frozen? Frozen?! We just explained to you our very serious quest, and you asked if we wanted a frozen margarita? Sorry, Retreat, this purist doesn't do frozen. Very quickly the waitress returned with our margaritas, on the rocks. The speed of service did make me question the quality of drink, as did the presentation. The glass was quite small and there was no garnish, although the rim was well-salted. Since we were seated and not at the bar, we didn't have the benefit of watching how the margarita was made, which made analysis slightly more difficult. The margarita was quite sour, which I enjoyed but note that it was on the brink of bitterness. Something in it tasted quite cheap, but since it was light on the tequila I'm guessing the subpar culprit was the sour mix. In sum, this was a completely average margarita and the $4.25 price was neither a ripoff nor a bargain given the size of the drink."

We take this mission very seriously.

Angela gives The Retreat 6.5 out of 10 limes wedges.

The Retreat has a large, pleasant patio and is one of my favortie locations for drinking outside on a nice day. Weeks ago (pre-margarita mission), I did just that with my dear friend Ryan (classmate and Tejas native). It was a perfect sunny day for a margarita. Since we were sitting outside, the margarita was delivered in a plastic cup, and not just any plactic cup. It was the really flimsy clear plastic ones that hold maybe 6 ounces. No salt. Oh dear. At least there was a lime wedge. Since the experience was pre-mission, pre- self acclaimed margarita master, and because The Retreat regularly attracts a robust crowd, Courtney and I saw it our duty to our followers and all of Syracuse to go and give it a fair shot. Nice salt job. No lime? I got a lime on my plastic cup weeks ago, and no lime on a real glass? The sweet and sour balance was surprisingly good. It had a little sting, probably from a well tequila. I think we learned here that it is important to observe the making of the margarita. Overall, it was average. There was no blissful hallucination of a tall, dark, handsome and shirtless man on the beach offering to lotion my back. Is that too high a standard in the 'Cuse? Nah. Nevertheless, when the moment calls for a margarita and I find myself at The Retreat, I'd order one here, unlike Hafner's, where I would run like Forrest.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ruby Tuesday's

Ruby Tuesday's offers three margaritas: the Classic Sauza Gold, Ultimate Patron, and Strawberry. Because the Misses are both purists and cheap, they sampled the Classic, described as "fresh lime juice mixed with DeKuyper Triple Sec and Sauza Gold Tequila to create a drink that's already a classic."

Courtney gives the Classic 7.5 out of 10 lime wedges.

"I have to admit that initially I thought the bartender, Sonya, seemed a little too German to make a decent margarita (perhaps I judged her harshly based on her habit of coming to stay with us a weekend and leaving seven months later). But, Sonya delivered an expertly prepared and garnished margarita that instantly impressed me with it's perfectly salted rim and beautifully positioned lime wedge. The minute this margarita hit my lips, however, I knew something was awry. Was it the sour mix? Did the lime juice spoil? It turns out this foreign margarita flavor was intentional, because Ruby's adds OJ to the Classic. Despite the typical company-line assertions from the bartender that the juice was "fresh squeezed," I still felt the orange juice flavor detracted from an otherwise fine margarita. Without the OJ, this margarita would have gotten at least an 8 for presentation and use of high quality ingredients. That being said, it was still a very good margarita and a great value at only $5."

Angela gives the Classic 6.5 out of 10 lime wedges.

Excellent presentation, including the lovely and beautiful bartender, Ms. Sonya. I agree with my partner that the salted rim and the fresh lime wedge were absolutely flawless. However, in searching for the perfect balance between sweet and sour, this one tipped towards the sour side. For me, one a bit too sour is much preferred over one too sweet. (see Hafner's post for comments of one too sweet). Nevertheless, the balance was off. While I appreciate the fresh squeezed orange and lime juices as opposed to artificial juices, I think too much natural juice is what resulted in this margarita being overly tart and overpowered the triple sec orange-flavored liqueur sweetner. I agree with my partner's comment that this margarita would be better without the OJ, leaving the sweet and sour balancing to the lime juice and triple sec.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Welcome fellow margarita-lovers to a little (lime) slice of heaven on earth. For those of you unfamiliar with our mission...well, congratulations for not hearing us talk about it yet! Now that we have a blog, the rest of the world can share in our journey to greatness. Check back for reviews, updates, when and where to meet us if you want to join the mission, and all things margarita related. Because remember, "when life gives you limes, make margaritas!"

--Angela and Courtney (The Margarita Misses)