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Santa Fe Margaritas made w/ FRESH lime juice

I'm headed to Santa Fe this week. This will be my 3rd visit. My only disapointment in the past has been in being served margaritas made from a bottled mix. One bartender told me it was a locally made mix, but still, it tasted too sweet and chemical to me. I prefer fresh lime juice. Who serves killer margaritas made with fresh lime juice?

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  1. I THINK we've had good luck at the Dragon Room and at the Ore House--no guarantees, have not seen anyone actually grinding limes--but I also think that these places (especially the Ore House) serve up a wide variety of Margaritas with wildly differing prices. (Best policy might be to ask first, or ask for a drink list with descriptions; I think that the recipe for a "silver coin" margarita specifies fresh lime, as do many others, but who knows which places really use it?)

    There's a place frequented by locals not too far from the plaza--corner on Galisteo??--the name escapes me--and they serve up cocktail mixers full of the stuff, cheap, but always wickedly sweet tasting. (Decent, cheap hamburgers however.)

    Had good Margaritas at another place, I think, couple of blocks west of the Plaza on Palace Ave. Again, can't remember the name, but it is now a rather high-end restaurant often featuring game meats. Rumored to have been a brothel in the distant past, but for all I know this is just may just be a marketing ploy. (However, they do have giant, rear-end portrait of a buck-naked maiden prominently displayed on the wall opposite the bar.)

    Anyway, enjoy the exploration. Sorry I can't be more specific, as I now reside in ABQ, not Santa Fe--only visit SF from time to time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: baltodog

      I have always considered having a margarita on the porch of the Ore House to be one of the nicest things to do in Santa Fe, just sip and watch the Plaza go by! Don't know how they are made but it makes for a pleasant afternoon.

    2. The Dragon Room is at The Pink Adobe restaurant not The Ore House; Dragon Room is a true "hangout" though I can't speak to their margaritas.

      Only place I recall having margaritas made with freshly squeezed lime juice was at Coyote Cafe, Mark Miller's high-end restaurant. Really tart and different from what is served most other places. My recollection is old so be warned and I cannot vouch that they are/were made the same way at his very popular adjacent Coyote Cantina.

      The place in Santa Fe that everyone considers to be the defining margarita experience (menu of choices/possibilities is three pages) is Maria's. It is a not very fancy Mexican restaurant that many swear by (I'm not among them). I'm almost certain they use a mix of their own making but I'd bet they'd make whatever you want and squeeze the limes in front of you.

      The "mix" mentioned in suhicks response is indeed a locally made product from "Eat Me" foods, part of the Santa Fe Chile Company (link below). It IS better than most mixes and - according to the owners - is used in 80% of the Santa Fe bars/restaurants.

      Santa Fe Chile Company:


      1. I do remember being very happy with the cocktails at the Dragon Room. I can't stand a watery or chemical tasting drink. I will seek out these other places. And, I may pack my reamer for my own version: 1 part fresh lime, 1 part Triple Sec, 1.5 parts Cuervo Gold. Thanks.

        1. Try La Casa Sena. They have a beautiful outdoor courtyard and their margarita recipe is the best. It was so good I bought the cookbook just for that recipe, which features fresh lime juice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Donnie C

            La Casa Sena...sounds really good. I do love a place that has its own cookbook. P.S. I would drink wine when dining but Italy and France have notified me that I have already consumed my lifetime allotment. ;-)

            1. re: suhicks

              Italy AND France both put you on notice ?!? Damn, their mail to me must have bounced.

          2. OK - Maria's is THE place for margaritas. The New Mexican food is average to good but the margaritas are excellent. We enjoy Coyote Cantina's margaritas. Harry's Roadhouse makes an excellent margarita. We also enjoy Blue Corn's margaritas. None of these are too sweet and they are all made with real juice.

            1. Me too, I love having margaritas on the Ore House porch, and there are about 30 different kinds to choose from. However, I can't say for certainty that the ones I've tried were made with fresh lime juice. More importantly, IMO, the tequila was the dominant flavor, and they were neither too sweet nor too tart.

              1. The El Farol on Canyon Road coined the term, "Silver Coin" margarita and make them with fresh juices. You must try one or two or three. You get the drift...

                1. I think I'm right on this: All of Maria's Margs are made with lemon juice. I'm not sure whether Coyote uses lemon or lime juice, but their foamy Marg is just about the best thing ever. If you don't like that, I can't help you.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lpsfnm

                    Just to add on to what lpsfnm says...

                    A guy by the name of Quinn is one of the four partners that now own Coyote Cafe. He was the beverage manager in the early years of Mark Miller and left to do the same at, I think, Geronimo/Senor Lucky.

                    He's usually at Coyote (the primary restaurant not the adjacent Cantina) at night. Ask for him. He surely knows how they were made in the old days of Coyote and I'd bet he'd see that you got whatever you wanted. As I mentioned way up above in this thread, I'm certain the margaritas in the old days of Coyote were all or mostly all lime juice. They were the tartest margaritas I had ever had.

                    1. re: fyfas

                      If you go to Coyote definitely try a margarita with the lime foam on top. So delicious!
                      Quinn is a great cocktailsmith if such a description even exists.
                      Another local favorite is Del Charro. It's near the Plaza and their bar menu is one of the best values in town. They are connected to Inn of the Governors.
                      La Casa Sena is another safe bet, with so many diffenent margs to choose from it's hard to go wrong.
                      Have Fun!

                  2. Wow, great topic. I learned so much in 10 minutes reading this. :-)

                    Dragon Room's Herradura Silver Coin was my first and I loved it. Had no idea El Farol coined it.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: tenacity

                      Tacatecas in ABQ - Mark Miller's newest venture, has great 'Rita's!
                      Keep in mind, the posts on this thread are at least 4 years older or more.

                      1. re: DebitNM

                        Oh yeah, I know. :-) I like to unearth old topics now and then. Thank you!

                        1. re: DebitNM

                          Zacatecas. And, yes, their margs are fabulous. even just their house ones which they make with fresh juice in a big bin and serve out of a tap. Be forewarned - I had two there once (and I am no lightweight!) and stated to my friends - "I am leaving here with "X"s in front of both eyes" and I made an X symbol by crossing my fingers in front of my eyes.

                        2. re: tenacity

                          Is Dragon Room at the Pink Adobe closed now?