Sip on this: Vancouver bars for tequila cocktails

No longer just the domain of bachelorette parties and late-night shots, tequila has been elevated to the sophisticated liquor it should be. With high-end, artisanal varieties finding their way to bars and into cocktails across Vancouver, you’ll see why this is the nectar of the Aztec gods.

La Mezcaleria

1622 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4

You can bet you’re going to find the best of imported Mexican liquors at this popular Commercial Drive bar. Their impressive menu of mezcals and tequilas is rivalled only by their equally appealing list of house cocktails. Experimenting with infusions, they’re offering drinks with everything from chipotle-infused mezcal to tamarind-infused tequila. Their margaritas are bracingly sour and excellent and their Paloma — tequila, grapefruit soda, lime, salt rim — is just the refresher you need as you navigate the sure-to-be-packed restaurant.

Los Cuervos Taqueria Ltd

603 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K5

Deeply at home in East Van (the same people are behind Les Faux Bourgeois down the street; the place is named for the eastward migration of crows across the city), Los Cuervos takes its inspiration directly from Mexico City. The chef lived there for five years and his tight but delicious menu highlights this. Turn to their drinks list for margaritas, yes, but also tequila-forward cocktails like the Suero, made with sage tea, agave, soda, lime and tequila. A perfect pairing for tacos.

Cuchillo Restaurant

261 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G3

For a little mystery, head to the dark, sexy room of Cuchillo on the edge of Gastown. Peruse their excellent menu of tequilas and mezcals for true tastes of Mexico. Or opt for one of their intriguing cocktails using these plant-based liquors with names like Mexican Firing Squad (tequila, lime, house made grenadine, bitters) and El Pelonchas (a bit of nasty Mexican slang, but translated here as whiskey, mezcal, ginger-infused agave syrup and lemon). Too much deliciousness to list here. See for yourself.

Tacofino Cantina Inc

2327 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V6

Known primarily as a food truck, Tacofino has three permanent restaurant locations — on East Hastings, in Gastown and in Yaletown — which means you can now enjoy their famous fish tacos with more than a Diet Coke. Their extensive list of cocktails uses tequila to brilliant effect, from classic and spicy margaritas, tequila-laced Caesars and that beach-side favourite, the Michelada, to more intriguing combinations like El Jimador, ginger beer and lime or the killer Santiago — mezcal, aperol and vermouth. Be sure to order plenty of toasty tortilla chips to soak up the strong stuff.

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