This is tequila’s time, and not just because July 24 is National Tequila Day: in 2021, the agave-based spirit – and its source liquor, mezcal – ranked as the single fastest growing spirit in America, with a whopping 30% increase in sales. You can see, and taste, the popularity all over Long Beach, where there is no shortage of restaurants and lounges to sip the good stuff, straight up or as a sweet or salty margarita. Here’s a few ways to check up on what’s being poured out. Happy Tequila Day!
AGAVES KITCHEN AND TEQUILA
The fact that this Downtown favorite is named after the very plant responsible for tequila, shows you Agaves’ (200 Pine Ave.) devotion to the liquor. Another sign is the fact it features more than 30 brands of tequila. Tequila flights featuring three, 1.5 ounce shots served with tajin/salt/seasonal fruit and your choice of Squirt or Jamaica chaser. They also utilize it in unique margarita creations such as the Cucumber 15, combining watermelon, citrus and cucumber, and the Matador, which comes with pineapple, mint and jalapeno. Serving a full menu of traditional Mexican fare, Agaves also has a weekend brunch featuring Mexican French Toast with – wait for it – cajeta tequila syrup!
Celebrated for its authentic New Mexican offerings, Panxa’s (3937 E. Broadway) margarita menu reflects its Southwestern roots, offering a diverse selection of drinks with unique flavor pairings. The Espolon Ranger is made simply, mindfully from Espolon Reposado, blood orange and ancho reyes, resulting in a balance of sweet and spicy, while the seasonal Pom Pom combines pomegranate juice with cinnamon agave. The Margapeňo melds soothing cucumber with spicy jalapeňo-infused reposado tequila.If you’re looking to take the next step, try the bar’s single most expensive drink, The Don, combining Don Julio 1942 and Mandarine Napoleon liqueur with lime juice and agave.
SOLITA TACOS & MARGARITAS
Connected in construction and in spirits – Mezcalero sits stacked atop Padre – each establishment takes its tequila seriously. Padre (525 E. Broadway) not only features a full slate of margaritas, but tequila cocktails that includes the farmer’s market-like Oaxacan The Garden, made with blanco tequila, mezcal, sotol, mint, cilantro, basil, red bell pepper, jalapeño, fresh pineapple, organic agave and lime. It also offers flights of tequila and mezcal featuring three, one ounce tasters that vary wildly from Tequila Ocho Repo – toffee, stone fruit, pepper – to the vegetal and earthy smoke of Nuestra Soledad San Baltazar mezcal. Mezcalero (525 E. Broadway), is a rooftop cocktail lounge featuring an extensive selection of hyper creative agave concoctions such as Hasta Siempre– La Luna mezcal, Fernet Branca, Cynar, cucumber, Peychaud Bitters, sparkling wine–and Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, which pairs tequila with roasted corn, burnt tortilla, cinnamon, celery and lime. It also has a great view.