This month, Taco Cabana debuted “MargaritaPalooza!” a diverse lineup of 12 frozen margarita flavors for $2 each. All day, every day.
The rollout comes after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide order to shut down bars once again in an effort to further contain the spread of COVID-19. However, restaurants are still allowed to offer alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery, and Taco Cabana is taking full advantage.
The margarita offerings are available to patrons 21 years and older for dine-in, pick-up and drive-thru with any food purchase at all Metroplex locations, as well as San Antonio, Austin, Houston and El Paso, according to a Taco Cabana press release.
Some customers may be apprehensive about the idea of a $2 margarita, let alone 12 of them. As they say, you get what you pay for.
Nevertheless, I took it upon myself to sample and rate all 12 flavors just for you.
In the interest of full disclosure, it’s important to note the margaritas do not come labeled. The first step in this adventure is to guess which flavor is which. For less obvious flavors, guesses are likely to change throughout the night.
Despite the confusion, margarita tasting isn’t a bad way to safely spend a Sunday night at home in the middle of a pandemic.
Here are the ratings from best to worst, presented in a five-star point system.
Lime | ★ ★ ★ ★
A true OG classic, lime didn’t disappoint. Although it was lime-y-er than your typical margarita, it was a beautiful blend of simple lime and tequila.
For anyone who doesn’t mind a lil’ extra citrus, this margarita will be rather enjoyable.
Star-Spangled Banner | ★ ★ ★ ★
True to its name, this drink features distinct red, white and blue stripes. It’s a mix of lime, strawberry and Blue Curaçao liqueur.
You might think the combination of tart, sweet and bitter would clash into an overwhelming mix of flavors, but they blended rather well for a full range in one sip. You’ll taste the strawberry first, then get a hit of the Curaçao and finish off with a tart, lime-y aftertaste to clear your palate.
Blue Curaçao | ★ ★ ★
With its distinct bright blue color, this drink was definitely the easiest flavor to identify by sight, but for anyone who has never tasted Blue Curaçao before, the taste may be less identifiable.
Blue Curaçao liquor is traditionally flavored with dried laraha peels, a bitter citrus fruit grown on the Dutch island of Curaçao. Taco Cabana captured that flavor and repackaged it for $2, but untrained taste buds may spend several minutes trying to decipher what exactly they’re tasting. The bitterness is obvious, but it’s a refreshing break from many of the other sweet, syrupy margaritas you’re tasting.
That bright blue color is definitely artificial, though.
Watermelon | ★ ★ ★
This one tasted light, sweet and summery — so basically, like watermelon. However, the actual watermelon flavor isn’t really strong enough to be automatically distinguished as such on your first sip.
After a few more sips to saturate your taste buds, you’ll finally realize it’s not strawberry.
Mango | ★ ★
With a distinctly mango flavor, this marg stayed true to its name. For mango lovers who usually order a mango-flavored marg from other Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants, the drink might not taste “as good,” but it’ll still deliver some level of enjoyment.
You’ll taste it and know, “Oh, that’s the mango.”
Mangonada | ★ ★
Remember how Taco Cabana didn’t label the drinks? Well, they forgot a flavor, too.
That’s right, we didn’t receive a mangonada margarita for this review, and by the time we knew, it was too late. It was a sad ending to the night’s margarita tasting.
After returning to Taco Cabana the next day to round out the tasting, I have to say it wasn’t quite worth the extra trip.
Although not the same experience as your traditional mangonada, each sip promises a mouthful of tangy sweet and sour flavor with a zesty finish. However, it was too much sweet and not enough zest for me personally.
Strawberry | ★ ★
Oh, strawberry. One of the easiest to get right, but Taco Cabana didn’t seem to get the memo.
The actual strawberry flavor was faint and overwhelmed by tequila, as if there just wasn’t enough strawberry syrup mixed in to compete with the alcohol. Not what most people would hope for in a strawberry margarita, and overall, disappointing.
Passion Fruit | ★ ★
It was fruity and tropical. For anyone who’s never tried actual passion fruit on its own, this is exactly what you’d imagine.
This take on the flavor has a more bitter tartness than other tropical fruits like pineapple or mango, almost like it needed to fuse with a sweeter fruit like strawberry to balance it.
Frosé | ★ ★
In a line of 12 margaritas, the frosé does not stand out. It’s simple and light. Not really fruity, not quite bitter. Boring, really.
Unless you’re looking for a rather simple, unflavorful drink, it’s not really worth finishing.
Prickly Pear | ★ ★
For those who don’t know, prickly pear is actually a type of cactus. It tastes somewhat fruity, but not quite as sweet as your typical berry flavors.
This was a generically fruity alcoholic beverage.
MojitoRita | ★
Good news for Mojito fans: the MojitoRita tasted exactly like one.
But for those like me who don’t enjoy the sickeningly sugary flavor followed by a strange minty aftertaste, you might just wanna skip this one.
Dr Pepper | ★
This one is surely the most anticipated among Dr Pepper fans. I personally was looking forward to it, but tequila and Dr Pepper simply don’t mix the way I’d hoped.
It definitely tasted like Dr Pepper. And it definitely tasted like tequila. And I’m still wishing I could purge that combination from my tastebuds.
Final thoughts: not bad. For $24 (plus tax and the price of whatever food item you order), 12 different margaritas isn’t a bad deal. In a time when social distancing is expected and takeout dining is the norm, it’s one of the more cost-effective ways to enjoy a night in.