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BEST MARGARITA Minneapolis 2001 - Chevy's

A quick look at any bartender's guide lets even the most clueless guzzler in on the little secrets that make for a good drink. In the case of margaritas, it's simple: a shot of primo tequila, one-third that amount of Cointreau--the orange liqueur--and ice and a hearty squeeze of lime juice. Gently shake those ingredients and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice cubes and there you have it. Perfection. And, now that you know this, you can provide directions on making a superior margarita instead of a sweet, sticky headache in a too-big glass. If you're too timid to boss the bartender around, you can just go downtown to Chevy's, where two types of fabulous margaritas are guaranteed on the menu. First, there's the Tradicional, an exact replica of what is written in the bartender's guide, right down to the gentle straining, for $5.50. Those who want a bit less tartness and better tequila should try the 1800 Top Shelf, which for $5.75 comes with a rich drizzle of Grand Marnier. But be careful how many of these you drink or you might end up thinking that all the enormous sombreros and weird donkey piñatas that go with this chain's Mexican theme are closing in on you.

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