A contractor I knew as Cowboy once told me the margarita was named after singer Peggy Lee in the late '40s at Galveston's storied Balinese Room. (He also told me that Frank Sinatra, a fixture at the former waterfront hotspot, refused to touch his own penis; he had hired hands do the job for him when he needed to pee.) Cowboy heard plenty of stories like that when he helped restore the landmark a few years before Ike claimed it. I'm not totally sure, but I'm guessing Bodegas Taco Shop (1200 Binz, 713-528-6102) doesn't boast any similar tales. In fact, it's basically a Chipotle with booze, but that's not such a bad thing if you're in the mood for a quick burrito and a decent margarita on the rocks. Bodegas's nonfrozen margaritas beat out the average super-sweet swill because the restaurant uses fresh ingredients and offers fruity additions like guava and tamarind for very cheap. (I tried the hibiscus, probably because it was the last of many options the bartender/cashier listed.) Stop by after a visit to one of the neighborhood's museums, or in between performing surgeries at one of the nearby hospitals. If you're a pathetic drunk or a party animal (it's all about self-perception!), ordering an extra shot in your drink provides a needed kick.
11 ounces Pepe Lopez tequila
3.5 ounces triple sec
Bodegas Taco Shop
38 ounces simple syrup
13 ounces water
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11 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Mix tequila and triple sec. Mix water and simple syrup. Combine both mixtures. Add juice and stir well. Makes a 1/2 gallon batch for your holiday party needs. Note that Bodegas won't reveal the source of its flavor additions. At home, try adding an ounce of Monin hibiscus syrup to your margarita in a cocktail shaker before pouring your drink; stir and adjust to taste. Or make your own syrup — just search Google for "hibiscus syrup recipe," and don't blame us if you fail miserably.