Austin Cocktail Round-Up

Tales of the Texas VegFest (starring jaw-dropping vegan funnel cakes, tacos, Capital City goodies, Ethiopian stews and more) this past weekend are still rocking the vegan internet, so consider me crazy jealous – and in taco withdrawal. That’s certainly another long-delayed photo essay in the making for another long-delayed day, because I’m a little busy contemplating what flavor margarita would pair best with a funnel cake. 
I’m thinking tamarind, and that’s something I learned in Austin two months ago: There’s a margarita for everything, and it’s often an eye-opening pairing, even with chips & salsa. Or better yet, a freshly mashed bowl of guacamole. 
Forget beer – give me a house margarita that’ll put a smile on my face, and keep the Austin margarita & taco recs coming. 
With a few short days in Austin with Team VVC, I immediately came to realize that I simply hadn’t experienced a great margarita before. I didn’t comprehend how one could be refreshing yet relaxing, on the rocks or pureed, salt rim or not.
These are sips that transport you to an open patio, or even a beach, from behind your favorite pair of sunglasses not syrupy, neon headache-makers from your hazy college days (er, nights) or nearly any given mass-marketed restaurant chain.
This is now the story in photos of a few days of refreshment where a girl gets acquainted with margaritas, and immediately returns home to slice some serranos for tequila-infusing and the warm weather ahead. 

Cocktail: Alma Blanca

Find it: La Condesa 400 W 2nd St Austin, TX

The start of our taco & margarita crawl.
The start of our taco & margarita crawl.

The lounge of this upscale, modern Mexican was the first stop on our grand taco & margarita farewell tour with friends, led by local vegan experts Lazy Smurf and Chris & Crystal of Food for Lovers, who even created a very special spreadsheet for the evening who got to pour over in advance.

You should really head to their elaborate cocktail list and choose your own danger to begin. I don’t know what else I can say about my order, the following Alma Blanca, that isn’t imagined by its description: “habanero-infused siembra azul blanco, ginger liqueur, agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn (!!!), hoja de hierba santa, hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim”. Believe me, the memory remains.

Alma Blanca: habanero-infused siembra azul blanco, ginger liqueur, agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn, hoja de hierba santa, hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim
Alma Blanca, La Condesa

There was also am exciting guacamole flight, but I’m sure you can understand that I was focused on sampling over stopping to take a photograph, as the others in our group my their own tough decisions of guac vs. photo vs. guac vs. cocktail sipping.

Cocktails: Cucumber Margarita & The Bill Buckin’ Murray*

Find It: Spiderhouse Cafe 2908 Fruth St Austin, TX

Spider House.
“This would so be my place if I lived here” – immediate rough quote from Michele, Vegtastic Voyage

The cucumber margarita, pictured below, was a ridiculously juicy fresh cocktail (thanks to the on-site Daily Juice Cafe) to be reckoned with, and one that made me half-wishing it was a hot and sunny day. That’s big. This was actually my second cocktail of this particular evening, the first being the irresistibly titled Bill Buckin’ Murray*, which I don’t think I’m making up, but it no longer seems to be on the menu. Anyhow, the name was so dang inviting that I almost ordered this spicy, boozy ginger cocktail without realizing it contained my arch nemesis, gin (thank you, Fung Wah bus ride hangover of 2005), and found myself quickly requesting a tequila sub.

Austin Margarita Round-Up on Get Sconed!

…because in my head, in Austin, that’s rational.

Fresh cucumber margarita at Spider House
Please excuse the Instagram (@jdfunks) quality here.

Austin Margarita Round-Up on Get Sconed!

Cocktail: House Margarita

Find It: Güero’s Taco Bar 1412 S Congress Ave  Austin, TX

Awaiting tacos, Guerro’s

We hit up vegan-friendly Güero’s, which you may recognize from Tarantino’s Deathproof (or so they tell me), for requisite margaritas and tasty, tomato-y house soy chorizo tacos de sulud, along with plenty more freshly mashed guac,on our second day in town.

As you can ascertain, this cocktail tour isn’t exactly in order, but more importantly, I want to express how enjoyable even the mere house margarita were in this town.

Cocktails: La Partida and House Specialty Margaritas

Find It: Curra’s Grill 614 East Oltorf St Austin, TX

Dinner margarita #1
Endless chips & salsa: almost enough to let tacos slip your mind.

Our spreadsheet-sourced taco and margarita crawl decided on Curra’s for dinner on our final evening, and the avocado margaritas were flowing! I was wary of the noted cilantro and ordered otherwise, as pictured above, but after a sip of a friend’s, I must say that it was very mild and the drink was just…luscious.

Margarita #2
The Orignal, Curra’s

I stuck to margaritas after my attempt to break into the world of Mexican martinis was halted by the bar being short an ingredient. No complaints here.

Cocktail: The Linda

Find It: Icenhauer’s 83 Rainey St Austin, TX

Dried chile margarita on Rainy Street
The Linda, Icenhauer’s

This Rainy Street bar had a very appealing chalkboard of infused bourbon specials with a Southern flare (including sweet potato and pecan) that almost had me reconsidering my dedication to tequila on our final evening.As a person who’s been known to sneak hot sauce into any margarita, I could not, however, pass up on ordering the Linda.Technically more of a cocktail vs. a margarita (or so I’m learning), the Linda was a tad sweeter than I’d like, but regardless, it was a nicely spiced delight with its fresh lime juice and chili-infused syrup.

Cocktail: Cucumber Margarita

Find It: Vivo Restaurant

Home of the vegan puffy taco phenomenon and dangerously close to our budget hotel, we hungrily stopped by Vivo for dinner and drinks our first night in Austin…and I don’t think any of us wanted the dinner (and margaritas, chips, and salsa) to end. The gorgeous and fruity margarita below was a real game changer in my cocktail-drinking knowledge, and like I continue to rave, pretty much took my more-than-worthwhile margarita virginity.

The margarita that started it all.
The margarita that started it all.

This cucumber margarita, the easy winner of the two I tried on our trip, featured  Silver, Cointreau, house-made cucumber puree, fresh-squeezed lime, simple syrup and a rim of Hawaiian black sea salt. Such a delight and perfect start to the trip.

Beer: Austin Beerworks Peacemaker, Extra Pale Ale

Find It: Violet Crown Social Club 1111 E. 6th St Austin, TX

Okay, one beer.
Winding down at the Violet Crown Social Club

The round-up is winding down, so it’s time for a traditional late night beer break.

How could I resist ending the evening with an frosty can of local pale ale over a square piece of curious, Detroit-style pizza from VIA 313? As if.

Drink: Ginger Kombucha from Buddha’s Brew

Find It: Wheatsville Coop 3101 S Guadalupe St Austin, TX

Local kombucha find: Buddha's Brew
Local kombucha find: Buddha’s Brew

Some days, iced coffee won’t cut it, and I can definitely get down with a puckered, eye-opening, chilled kombucha on a warm morning.

I picked up two local kombuchas from the home of surely world-famous popcorn tofu (and spicy popcorn tofu! – and don’t fret, we also tried both tacos and po boys here) and one is oddly still waiting in my fridge: Wheatsville’s Pear of the Dog, from Kosmic Kombucha. It contains prickly pear, lime, orange, agave, sea salt and be still my heart: olive juice. I need to get on that, it sounds mystifying.

We did, indeed, wave farewell to the margaritas:

Fieta's grand selection, as experienced and enjoyed by team VVC
Thank you, Fiesta Supermarket

A hot day of not-so-secret location scouting = sodas for team VVC.

Needless to say, we had a blast picking up hot sauce, BBQ sauce, dried peppers, spices and other fun stuff at Fiesta Mart.

Let’s close with a partial shot of the La Condesa salt bar, a world of inspiration with hibiscus-infused, smoked, Hawaiian black salt and more – in short, I’ll be installing a margarita-specific salt alcove in my pantry.

DIY Contemplation.

I have three quick words for you to end this trip: No hangovers involved.

P.S. Tacos to follow! Really.


  1. Gin and I are also not friends. Tequila is kind of that friend you keep on hanging out with even though it always screws you over. But you just keep coming back.

  2. I need to do a lot more drinking next time I’m in Austin! That cucumber margarita from Vivo looks amazing and as a cilantro lover I would definitely like to try the one from Curra’s.

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