Original margarita – Casa Azteca

Original margarita - Casa Azteca

I initially thought that this margarita was lame and weak, but I actually got a good buzz off of it, lol! I was fooled because it tasted kind of bland, but it was a decent value overall. Glass $6.95
Casa Azteca, Milpitas CA

Chips and salsa - Casa Azteca
Chips and salsa. Complimentary

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Margarita – El Techo de Lolinda

Margarita - El Techo de Lolinda

Pueblo Viejo tequila, lime, combier orange liqueur. Pitcher $29
El Techo de Lolinda, San Francisco CA

Meh, this margarita was marginal. It tasted pretty bland and watered down. This was their basic margarita, but at almost thirty bucks for a pitcher, I expected something with a little more flavor (and alcohol). Lame.

El Techo rooftop
This rooftop restaurant and bar get super packed on a sunny day so get there early to score a table without a long wait. The food is better than their drinks.

Hula’s hurricane cocktail – Hula’s Island Grill

Hula's hurricane cocktail - Hula's Island Grill

3 rums infused with pineapple and vanilla topped with tropical juices and Foslings Black Seal rum. $8
Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz CA

I love the beautiful colors in this cocktail. They make you think of vacations and beaches. I’ve had plenty of frou frou cocktails in my life (hehe), and some of them miss the mark. This hurricane did not disappoint – it was delicious!

Red and green Fuschia flowers
Red and green Fuschia flowers (Onagraceae), The Mystery Spot.

Zombie cocktail – Hula’s Island Grill

Zombie cocktail - Hula's Island Grill

Don Q Cristal rum, passion fruit, pineapple juice, lime juice, Goslings Black Seal rum and Bacardi 151 rum. $8
Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz CA

I had to order something served in a tiki glass during our visit to Hula’s. Enter the zombie cocktail, lol! This drink was delicious and deceptively easy to drink. I definitely felt a buzz after finishing off this fruity concoction.

Red and purple Fuschia flowers
Red and purple Fuschia flowers (Onagraceae), The Mystery Spot.

Hula’s mai tai – Hula’s Island Grill

Hula's mai tai - Hula's Island Grill

Appleton’s gold rum, DeKuyper orange curacao, pineapple and lime juice, orgeat, Goslings Black Seal rum. $7
Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz CA

There was something off with this cocktail. Perhaps the pineapple juice was old, but something just didn’t taste right. This was unfortunate because I do love my mai tai’s.

The Mystery Spot sign
The Mystery Spot sign.

Caipirinha and Manhattan cocktails – Bossa Nova

Caipirinha and Manhattan cocktails - Bossa Nova
Caiprinha: top shelp cachaca and fresh lime. $10
Manhattan: bourbon, vermouth, bitters. $9
Bossa Nova, San Francisco CA

I love caipirinhas because they’re so light and refreshing (just like Brazilians I guess)! Bossa Nova makes some pretty good caipirinhas but I’m always a little surprised how much they cost here. I’m not sure I’m convinced that they deserve this price point.

Purple cherry blossom mural

Purple cherry blossom mural, Potrero Hill.

Jamaican planter’s punch – Smuggler’s Cove

Jamaican planter's punch - Smuggler's Cove

“Where it all began – the heart of the exotic cocktail as enjoyed for centuries in Jamaica. This follows the traditional Caribbean formula: 1 of sour (lime) 2 of sweet (sugar) 3 or strong (dark Jamaican rum), and 4 of weak (ice), with allspice liqueur and Angostura bitters for spice.” $12
Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco CA

Just in time for Friday happy hour, lol! I love most of the drinks at Smuggler’s Cove, but this didn’t do it for me. I think the allspice liqueur was a bit too much.

Cliff House Totem Pole

Cliff House Totem Pole, Point Lobos Avenue.

Cadillac margarita – El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

Cadillac margarita - El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

1800 Reposado tequila, orange liqueur, sweet and sour, fresh lime juice and a float of Grand Marnier. Grande $14
El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana, Palm Springs CA

I really don’t mind paying $14 for a large margarita, but I hate it when a server tries to up-sell you and purposefully keeps you in the dark regarding the price of the larger item. I think it’s tacky and irresponsible. The drink always tastes worse when this happens anyway. Boo!

Chips and salsa - El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana
Chips and salsa. Complimentary

Cocktails – Escena Lounge & Grill

Cocktails - Escena Lounge & Grill

Dirty Blonde: Makers Mark, Dekuyper peach schnapps, lemonade, mint. $10
Escena Martini: Pearl cucumber vodka, Beefeater gin, tonic, lime juice, cucumber garnish. $12
Escena Lounge & Grill, Palm Springs CA

Mmm, a couple of refreshing cocktails on a warm sunny day. You can’t beat that!

Assorted rolls - Escena Lounge & Grill
Assorted rolls. Complimentary

Idyllwild country
View of Idyllwild country from Mt. San Jacinto.