Young and Hungry

Margaritas On Tap: Who Thought Of It First?

Restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum plans to open her Columbia Heights Mexican eatery El Chucho the week of June 18. One specialty to look out for: margaritas on tap.

Sound familiar? That's because Mike Isabella's just-opened mod-Mex spot Bandolero has been bragging that it's the first and only D.C. restaurant to serve the tequila drink on draft.

Copy cat or coincidence? Greenbaum says the latter.

"It's a normal case of a good idea happening at the same time," Greenbaum tells Y&H. "That happens all the time. Of course, we think it was our amazing original idea."

Greenbaum says the on-tap margaritas were part of the original concept, because they knew that they would be serving the drink in large volumes. The restaurant plans began nearly two years ago, but the opening was repeatedly push back because of construction and permit delays.

"If we actually opened on time, we would have been the first one," Greenbaum says with a laugh.

When Y&H spoke to Isabella on opening day of Bandolero, he said he'd never heard of anyone else serving margaritas on tap.

"We like putting things on tap. It's just cool," said Isabella, who was also the first in D.C. to put Prosecco on tap.

Though we'll have to wait a couple weeks for a taste comparison, it looks like El Chucho's version will beat Bandolero on price. "El Bandolero," which contains Espolon Blanco tequila, Patron Citronge liqueur, lime, and blood orange, costs $9. Greenbaum says her classic version with fresh-squeezed lime juice will likely go for $5 or $6. The exact recipe and tequila brand have not yet been finalized.

In addition to the on-tap margarita, El Chucho will serve half a dozen other margaritas (including two frozen varieties), which will range from sweet to tart to dry and herb-y. Greenbaum's personal favorite is a whipped avocado margarita. The bar will also be making 12 of its own sodas—including blackberry pomegranate and lemongrass ginger—which can be added to flavor the basic margarita.

Bandolero tap photo by Jessica Sidman

  • KlingonLoveGod

    Margaritas on tap have been available at Rosa Mexicano for the better part of 10 years. It's a hard drink to do well and sad that this passes for authentic Mexican cuisine -- it reeks of "Wet Willy's" to me.

  • tomaj

    i can't wait until bars have things like gin & tonics on tap because, you know, "it's just cool". I well remember visiting the Haut-Medoc region in France and our sommelier drawing a glass of Marquis de Saint-Estèphe-produced vinage, on tap, and waiting for the head (or tete du vin, as the French call it) to settle. How cool that was.

  • Lena

    Has anyone had scotch on tap? It's amazing! They use pipes crafted from platinum and ancient Irish wild boar ivory buried deep underground (and underwater) to deliver it directly from distilleries in Islay! It's the coolest!