04/30/2014 11:50 am ET Updated Jun 30, 2014

America's Best Margaritas (PHOTOS)

No detail is too trivial for New York's Empellón Taqueria, which stocks more than five types of salt just for its margaritas.

"Salt helps to draw out other flavors and balance the tartness of the drink," explains Peter Vestinos, a Chicago-based cocktail consultant.

America's best margaritas, recommended by tequila experts and some of the country's top mixologists, range from spicy to sweet, shaken to frozen. We wanted to toast the classics as well as quirky variations on the recipe of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. What all these margaritas share with Empellón's is a commitment to quality -- and complementary -- ingredients.

The margarita at Tommy's Mexican, a San Francisco institution, substitutes agave nectar (honey water) for triple sec with such success that it's been replicated by bars across America.

In New Orleans, Tivoli & Lee draws on local inspiration, adding native hibiscus to its margarita. And it doesn't use limes -- an advantage considering a lime shortage has been raising prices nationwide.

Whether you're celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just the end of the workweek, fill your glass with one of the finest margaritas north of the border.

--Natalie Taylor

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