‘Every day is National Margarita Day for us,’ some suburban eateries say

Tuesday, February 22 is National Margarita Day, a celebration of the classic cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur and often served with salt around the rim. If you want to join in the fun, there are plenty of local bars and restaurants that offer great twists on the classic formula.

“One of the recipes for success is freshness,” said Victor Tenorio, Beverage Director of Fat Rosie’s taco and tequila bar, which has offices in Schaumburg, Naperville, Lincolnshire and Frankfort. “We use freshly squeezed lime juice, 100% blue agave tequila and fresh fruit. We take great pride in what we do. I think every day is National Margarita Day for us.”

Fat Rosie’s Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita and Mango Margarita can be enjoyed any time of the year.
– Courtesy of Eric Kleinberg Photography

The restaurant offers the drink on the rocks, but also turns the same recipe into a frozen margarita. They also offer many variations of the cocktail, like the Purple Basil, which incorporates muddled blueberries and fresh basil, and the Pepino, which features crushed cucumber and Aperol and is rimmed with Tajin lime-chili seasoning.

“We want lots of choices for everyone,” Tenorio said.

Aubrey Mansene, director of beverages for Fox Restaurant Concepts, who oversees Blanco Kitchen + Canteen at Oak Brook, said a margarita’s balanced formula makes it easy to customize.

For something out of the ordinary, try Fat Rosie's Hibiscus Margarita.

For something out of the ordinary, try Fat Rosie’s Hibiscus Margarita.
– Courtesy of Eric Kleinberg Photography


“You take citrus, which is acidic, and from there balance it out, which is what we always look for in a perfectly crafted cocktail,” Mansene said. “You can add sweet, but it doesn’t have to be simple syrup or agave. It can be strawberry, pineapple, or mango. On the spicy side, if you want the kick it up a notch with a habanero or some kind of spicy ingredient, you want to balance that out by introducing a little more honey or agave or fruit syrup.”

Bartenders are also experimenting with the spirit, swapping the traditional white tequila for a reposado, which has been aged in oak barrels for two months to a year to give the liquor a richer flavor. Mezcal, a smokier agave spirit, is also gaining popularity.

“Mezcal is what we consider the mother of agave spirits,” Mansene said. “It’s been there forever. Between the floaters and people replacing it for margaritas and making classic cocktails with mezcal like negronis and old-fashioned, that spirit is rising.”

Fat Rosie's pepino picoso margarita is made with mezcal, habanero syrup and a splash of jalapeño.

Fat Rosie’s pepino picoso margarita is made with mezcal, habanero syrup and a splash of jalapeño.
– Courtesy of Eric Kleinberg Photography

You can try mezcal mixed into a pineapple margarita this month at Fat Rosie’s. Next month, the special will change to a bright green kiwi margarita in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

“Mezcal is huge right now,” Tenorio said. “We try to get people involved. It’s smoky and delicious.”

Winter might seem like an unusual time to celebrate a Mexican drink often associated with the beach or summer, but Mansene said regular and frozen margaritas are popular year-round.

“When a guest walks through our door, we try to get them out of wherever they’re coming from, whether it’s the office or home, and we treat that experience as if it were a special occasion,” a- he declared. “Even at 35 degrees, I wish someone would come over and order an ice-cold margarita that transports you somewhere where the temperature could be warmer.”

Blanco Cocina + Cantina in Oak Brook serves a variety of homemade margaritas.

Blanco Cocina + Cantina in Oak Brook serves a variety of homemade margaritas.
– Courtesy of Blanco Cocina + Cantina

• Blanco Cocina + Cantina is at 2022 Spring Road, Oak Brook, (630) 320-2034, blancotacostequila.com/locations/blanco-tacos-tequila-oak-brook-il/.

• Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar is at 940 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, (224) 377-2395; 47 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, (630) 328-0060; 870 N. Meacham, Schaumburg, (847) 807-2850; and 28 Kansas St., Frankfurt, (815) 534-1640; fatrosies.com/.

• • •

Looking for a place to celebrate National Margarita Day? Here are some other local spots offering new versions of the drink.

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Locations in Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Batavia, Bloomingdale’s, Bolingbrook, Crystal Lake, Downers Grove, Gurnee, Hoffman Estates, McHenry, Naperville, Plainfield, Romeoville, Rosemont, Round Lake Beach, South Elgin, St. Charles, Streamwood, Vernon Hills, Waukegan, Wheaton and more; chilis.com/.

To honor National Margarita Day, homemade margaritas are $3, Presidente margaritas are $6, and premium margaritas (Tropical Sunrise, Cuervo Blue, El Nio) are $7 on Tuesdays. Even better, Grand Romance ‘Rita is $5 all month.

Sabor Mexicano by Javier

8 W. Miner St., Arlington Heights, (847) 255-7075, javiers.biz/

The restaurant specializes in frozen margaritas, which you can mix with red sangria or a wide variety of other flavors including guava, peach, and papaya. If you want to know more about tequila, order a vol de blanco, reposado, or anejo.

Martini Room

161 E. Chicago St., Elgin, (847) 741-0349, martiniroomelgin.com/

In addition to a massive menu of its namesake cocktail, Martini Room offers six types of margaritas that you can customize with your choice of tequila or mezcal. Options include the Smoky Cocopinarita made with pineapple juice, mashed coconut and Tabasco sauce and the Cabana Boy with mashed yuzu and rhubarb bitters and topped with rosemary.

Miller Beer House

778 N. Route 59, Aurora, (630) 332-8574; 455 E. Butterfield Road, Lombard, (630) 241-3371; and 1300 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, (847) 598-1090; millersalehouse.com/.

On National Margarita Day, Miller’s is offering homemade, strawberry and watermelon margaritas for half price.

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

1512 S. Randall Road, Algonquin, (847) 960-3915; 1915 Glacier Park Avenue, Naperville, (331) 472-8740; 535 N. Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills, (224) 433-5450; ontheborder.com/.

On Tuesday, February 22, the homemade margarita is on sale for $5. Plus, add a 40-cent Grand Marnier Meltdown with any margarita to celebrate On The Border’s 40th anniversary. New to the menu are the Managonada (mango margarita with chamoy and spicy tajin) and the SkyRita (frozen house margarita topped with a Blue Moon Light Sky beer).

Salsa 17

17 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, (847) 590-1122, salsa17grill.com/

There’s something for everyone on Salsa 17’s specialty margarita menu, which includes La Rosita made with jalapeno-infused tequila, mezcal and raspberry liqueur, and La Pasion, which features fruit puree passion, pineapple juice and a touch of Midori. For $20 you can take home a half gallon of their margarita mix, which includes homemade simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime and orange juices. They will also sell you a bottle of tequila to facilitate your mixology at home.

Fat Rosie's Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita and Mango Margarita can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Fat Rosie’s Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita and Mango Margarita can be enjoyed any time of the year.
– Courtesy of Eric Kleinberg Photography


1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumbourg, (847) 278-5181, tokiopub.com/

It’s Taco Tuesday on February 22, when Tokio Pub will be offering three special tacos and classic $5 passionfruit and yuzu margaritas, which are normally $12 each.

About Mohammed B. Hale

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