The SXSW festival is almost all grown up, celebrating 20 years of music, art, and tech innovations this week in the funkiest town in Texas. So with all eyes on Austin from March 8 to 17, we wondered what tipples they’re drinking deep in the heart of Texas these days… and discovered it’s so much more than margaritas. "Out-of-towners seem to think that when they are in Texas, they should order a margarita, because of our close proximity and historical ties to Mexico," says Trevor Landry of Dish in Dallas. "There is nothing wrong with the classic margarita, but we have a few variations on our menu."
Indeed, clever twists on classic cocktails is trending in Texas — like everywhere else on the mixology map — and Landry’s strawberry-basil margarita is a good example of a potation punched up, Texas style: It features a tasty balance of sweet and sour notes with a hit of bright, herbaceous basil, making the drink perfectly refreshing for a hot Texas night. Or, of course, there's the Texas Cosmo. One of the most anticipated restaurant openings in Dallas last fall, FT33, has hit the mark with the fresh, artisanal, and often surprising dishes by chef Matt McCallister — so it’s hardly a surprise the libations created there,like the Texas Cosmo, are equally notable. The Texas Cosmo gets an update with Tito’s handmade vodka (an Austin-made vodka), Spruce Goose Pinot Noir Juice, and lime.Other tipples, like The Oracle from Bar Congress in downtown Austin, pay homage to some of the biggest trends in mixology this year, highlighting ingredients like amaro, vermouth, and mezcal, resulting in a seductive, serious sip.
If you can’t make it to Austin for the SXSW festival, bring a taste of Texas home with six of the Lone Star State’s hottest cocktails.