The great margarita hunt

We set out to find you the best margarita in town and this is what happened...

by: By Sam Wilson | 30 Nov 2005

Last week, I told women24 readers that I was going to kick the festive season off with a margarita hunt. And I did. Last Thursday, I hauled News24 editor Bryan Porter and Belinda Rose-Innes, Cape Bureau Chief of heat magazine out into the pubs and clubs of Cape Town to see what we could find.

The good news is: we are pretty sure we did find the best margarita in Cape Town. The bad news is... we can't remember where.

We started our evening at La Perla in Sea Point, because it has lovely sunny tables, a sea view and, well, we have a soft spot for the '70s vibe of the place.

Belinda arrived in a pretty pink top, looking summery and gorgeous. Bryan and I told her so.

"I know, I am channelling SJP today," she exclaimed happily. "Am I not H-O-T, hot?"

"This is such F-U-N, fun!" I replied, giggling.

"It is going to be F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, fabulous!" chimed in Bryan.

We looked at him for a bit.

"Okay... Bryan?" said Belinda, gently. "It isn't so cute with the long words. Or, from a man."

Bryan reluctantly agreed. Then we began to order margaritas.

And order them we did. Up and down the length of the city. Straight margaritas, frozen margaritas, margaritas with passion fruit in them, strawberry margaritas, kiwi margaritas… we had 'em all. I know only because I have the bar bills to prove it.

To be honest, much of the evening was a blur. As anyone with a predilection for tequila-based cocktails will be able to tell you, there is something special about this, the most festive of spirits.

First, tequila does not enter your bloodstream evenly. It holes up in your spleen or somewhere and then... smacks you in the brain all in one go.

One minute you are genteelly knocking back cocktails, spelling out short happy words and discussing the importance of love, lipstick and the sexual opportunities presented by packet of popping candy and the next... wham! You find yourself skipping around the Mount Nelson hotel in a pink boa and giant sequined fairy wings singing, 'I believe I can fly.' It can be a tad disconcerting when you are 30 plus. Especially for the staff. (Note to the Planet Bar: "Ah, sorry.")

The other major effect of tequila is that, once it strikes, it makes you outrageously flirty. No other drink makes you feel as instantly desirable as tequila, and while fun and affirming – this might not always be for the best.

"Hmmm... " mused Bryan, staring down into his 8th margarita glass with a glazed, dreamy expression. "I am having quite violently vivid images of sexual congress within the confines of a giant martini glass."

Belinda and I both stared down into our glasses for a bit, licking our salty lips and having our own inappropriate thoughts. Then, Belinda cracked.

"Right, that's it. I have to leave instantly to go and have S-E-X, sex!" she proclaimed, texting the man in her life, and wobbling off to wait for his chariot.

I would have said goodbye, only I had recently established myself at a table of elderly, and frighteningly coiffed, male tourists. As one does, when flirty and wasted.

Bryan, on noticing my defection, did the chivalrous thing. He hiccupped over menacingly.

"What ARE you doing?" he hissed at me. "Trying to pick up Blake Carrington and Tony Blair? Ugh!" (Bryan when drunk, is chivalrous, but not tactful.)

"Don't be silly," I demurred, winningly woozy, haughtily gesturing at my new companions with my feather boa, whilst readjusting my wings. "I am merely explaining my highly over-developed sense of irony to the nice gentlemen. And look! When I wave," which I then did, "they wave back!" Which they did, rather feebly, before taking this opportunity to flee to their suites upstairs.

Bryan and I blinked at each other for a bit.

"Right," said Bryan. "Home time, I think. Where's the designated driver?"

We both looked sadly across to Annel Lategan, Women24's entertainment editor, who had been charged with the task of soberly driving us back and forth that evening. She was giggling into her 5th champagne cocktail, later described by the bill as a ludicrously expensive concoction know as Liquid Cocaine, whilst suggestively wrapping bits of herself around the man she is to marry in three weeks. Annel is quite the most useless designated driver I have ever come across.

"Cab?" I said to Bryan.

"Top plan," said Bryan. "And you know what? I had a F-A-N-T-A-S-T…."

Sam Wilson is the editor in chief of She spent the entire weekend whimperingly hungover, baking up an apologetic storm for her bemused family.

  • Click here to read our 2005 Margarita guide, compiled from our own experiences and your recommendations.

  • Click here to see more photos of our Margarita Hunt.

  • To send a message to Sam, or to recommend another Women24 hunt, click here.

  • To sign up for Sam's weekly Ed's letter to Women24 readers, click here.

    - Women24


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