Margarita Mix

What is top shelf?

Ultimately, a top-shelf margarita consists of a good tequila, Cointreau or Grand Marnier (after about six drinks, the Burning Question crew no longer considered this important) and fresh lime juice. It should be served either on the rocks or neat. Monica's prepares an excellent example, which it calls a "Frankie's Margarita." Other bars offer reasonable facsimiles, often marred by sweet and sour, but otherwise palatable: Star Canyon, Chuy's, Javier's, Blue Mesa and The Mansion. At least we think it was The Mansion; after downing so many drinks we can't be certain, but we vaguely recall some guy in a tux yelling, "You'll never be welcome again at The Mansion."

Economically, anyway, it makes no sense to order anything but a top-shelf margarita. The margin on the regular version, featuring cheaper alcohol in smaller amounts, favors the bar. Top shelf requires better ingredients and a larger pour, for only a slight increase in cost to the consumer. At least, that's how we explained it to our editors when we turned in the expense report.

As Marzanec points out, "Top shelf is only a buck more and 10 times better."

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