A traditional margarita is made with a combination of tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, sour mix, and sweetener, and is served blended or on the rocks, in a salt-rimmed glass. Traditional margaritas can be found almost anywhere, but the Mesilla Valley offers an abundance of unique varieties. “Many people are habitual and used to ordering a generic margarita,” says Jerean. “So we ask them, ‘Are you ready for a real margarita?’” These “real” margaritas are delightful to survey and savor. La Posta’s Mesilla Valley Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita is served in an emerald-colored, handblown margarita glass rimmed with salt and locally-grown pecans. This margarita epitomizes summer; the cucumber offers refreshment, and the jalapeño a hint of spice. The Chile ‘Rita is another La Posta favorite. Cynthia starts with a signature margarita and adds Besito Caliente, a blackberryhabanero sauce produced in Las Cruces by The Truck Farm. The Chile ‘Rita is an artful combination of sweet and smooth up front with a kick of spice on the back side. Spicy, local chile paired with a margarita might sound like a contradiction, but it actually offers the perfect complement to the sweetness. Picacho Hills Country Club (PHCC) owner, Don Biad, is in the chile business, so he provides the club with exclusive ingredients like Biad jalapeño powder to create favorites like the Frozen Biad Jalapeño Margarita and the quenching Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita.
Russell Fancher, former PHCC bar manager, mixes the powder into a traditional, blended margarita to add a kick and accentuate the tequila flavor. Their prickly pear margaritas are especially popular during summers at the club, which is one of the only non-residential pools in town where cocktails can be enjoyed poolside. Margaritas in Las Cruces are award-winning. “The Game Sports Bar and Grill won the Dos Lunas Tequila Margarita Shake-Off two years in a row,” says Marci Dickerson, owner of The Game and M Five Martini Grill. The Game’s outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy this delicious pineapple-chile libation. The Double Eagle Restaurant is another great margarita destination, offering more than 35 margarita varieties. Their most popular is the Award Winner Margarita, which has won numerous area awards. At 44 ounces of margarita tastiness, the Large Marge is the perfect match for an extreme thirst; and the Turquoise Margarita, served with a turquoise stone garnish, is temptingly attractive and delicious. The Double Eagle’s unique atmosphere pairs perfectly with its unique margarita selection. “Enjoying a cocktail at the Double Eagle is like stepping back in time to another era of caring and service,” says general manager Jerry Harrell. “The décor is obviously upscale but you still get a relaxed, comfortable, safe feeling.” Many local restaurateurs are working to provide low-calorie options for health-conscious customers. “That’s one of the unique things that M Five,” says Marci. Marci launched her “skinny” drink menu after learning the calorie count of her favorite cocktail. “We are very health conscious. We took out a lot of the sugars and syrups to give people good tasting alternatives so you don’t have to be on the treadmill for six months afterwards,” she laughs.