By Gary Schwind

Tequila is a liquor where some people have a vast difference of opinion. Some people don’t care for it while a lot of people like it – to excess. However, if you’re not looking for a wild night (which happens frequently with tequila) and just enjoy the flavor, it can be hard to find a tequila drink that isn’t a standard margarita. Try these places for tasty tequila cocktails that you can sip and enjoy.

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Juliette Kitchen & Bar
100 Bristol St. N., Suite #11
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 752-5854

Juliette is a cozy place at the corner of Bristol and Jamboree. When you walk in, you notice a good liquor selection – including a good number of tequilas. One of the cocktails available here is the seasonal 24 Carrot Gold. It is made with pepper tequila, carrot juice, orange sherbet, and ginger. The result is a combination of flavors that is sure to wake up your taste buds. The featured cocktails change regularly, but you’re always sure to find a unique tequila cocktail here

Matador Cantina
111 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-8226

Matador has not only a good number of tequilas on hand, but also a good number of tequila cocktails for you to enjoy. One of them is really unusual and really delicious. It is made with blood orange, which gives the drink just enough sweetness. Everything about the presentation of this drink from the salt on the rim of the Mason jar to the color of the drink is appealing. Blood oranges are a seasonal ingredient, but if this drink is unavailable, you’re to find some tequila cocktail that you like.

Fly n Fish Oyster Bar and Grill
2304 W. Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 673-8400
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An oyster bar may not be the first place you think of for a margarita, but you’ll find a good one here. This drink begins with fresh slices of lime, lemon, and orange, all of which are muddled. The tequila, orange liqueur, and Grand Marnier are then added and shaken with the fresh fruit juice and pulp. The result is a nice, refreshing twist on the classic margarita that doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down with a lot of sugar. Plus it’s perfect for sipping as you look out onto the ocean.

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Ways and Means Oyster House
21022 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite B140
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-4300

Since it is right across the street from the beach, it’s hard to beat the location of Ways and Means. The backdrop provides some spectacular views no matter what time of day you visit. In addition to great seafood, this place also offers a unique tequila cocktail. The Blackbird is made with tequila, blackberry, ginger beer, and lime. It is a simple drink, but the beauty is in the simplicity. You can definitely enjoy a couple of these as you look out at the ocean.

El Mercado Modern Cuisine
301 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 338-2446

A lot of things go into making a great cocktail. One of those things is a unique combination of flavors. You’ll find a drink with unique flavor combinations here at Mercado. The drink is called En Arandas. It is made with silver tequila, tamarind, pink perppercorn, house-made strawberry liqueur,, and lemon. It gives you a little bit of sweet, spicy, and tart – in combination with the tequila, and it is delicious. Don’t be surprised if this becomes your new go-to drink.

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Related: Best places for margaritas in Orange County