2/27/2013 04:26:00 PM

Ask the Austin Zagat Blogger: What's the Difference Between a Mexican Martini and a Margarita?

A margarita and Mexican Martini at Trudy's
Eating out in our fair city raises all sorts of burning questions. Is it okay to take a date to a food trailer? Yay or nay on cargo shorts at Uchiko? Then there are the more general questions we’ve always wondered but been too afraid to ask. Are you allowed to eat garnish? Who pays for that extra appetizer?

That’s where I come in, your trusty Austin Zagat blogger, Megan Giller. Ask me anything your heart desires in the comments section below, and I’ll give you my honest opinion.

This week an Austin transplant asked me, What's the difference between a Mexican Martini and a margarita?

Oh, the Mexican Martini. A quintessential Austin drink that’s hardly known outside of our city, the cocktail has quickly become the favorite drink of locales. But is it just a melted frozen margarita? Yes and no.

The drink originated at the Cedar Door bar downtown, where it is literally a giant margarita served with a shaker, martini glass and olives. But as anyone who has sipped the massive martini at Trudy’s knows, it’s really two sweet, powerful drinks in one (hence the reason they cut you off at two of ‘em).

Every bar in Austin serves the martini differently: Some are sickeningly sweet, some come with olive brine (a “dirty margarita”), some are made with Sprite (!) and some are served with a shaker and others straight in a glass.

A margarita, on the other hand, is a relatively standard cocktail made with tequila, Cointreau or Triple Sec, and lime juice, served (as we all know) on the rocks or frozen, with salt or without. Of course, like the standard martini (not the Mexican variety), there are all sorts of crazy flavors and alterations: mango, mint, blue raspberry, you name it. While it’s not native to Austin, the cocktail is very popular here.

But however you drink the margarita and its Austin cousin, beware the delicious effects.

Have a restaurant query you need answered? Ask Megan your questions below in the comments section.


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