If heaven is a place on earth, I'm pretty sure it's Matador Cantina in downtown Fullerton. Attempting to pick one cocktail for our Drink of the Week turned into two, or three, or four--the drinks are that good. Luckily for my liver, I had a friend in tow.
After looking over the lengthy specialty cocktails list, it was time to get an expert opinion. David, Matador's trusty bartender/mixologist, gave an honest and much-appreciated rundown of the list. He suggested the Elderflower Pear Rickey--a shaken mix of Absolut pear vodka, St. Germain, and freshly squeezed lime juice. St. Germain is a tasty French liqueur made from elderflower blossoms. The cocktail tastes just like a pear without having an overwhelming alcohol flavor. This was just the beginning of an extensive sampling of Matador's drinks and appetizers.
As the place is known for its margaritas, it was time to test them out. Although the Matador Margarita (homemade sweet and sour, Hornitos tequila, Cointreau) is one of the best I've tried in Orange County, Matador's Holiday Margarita is surprising take on the traditional recipe. Included in the mix is cranberry juice, making this cocktail one-of-a-kind and a delicious holiday treat.
If you're looking for something light and refreshing, David's Grapefruit Elderflower Collins is a good choice, as is my personal favorite, the Summer Focus, a tequila-based cocktail that includes muddled cucumbers and agave syrup.
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If you want a true mixologist to create a cocktail tailored to your likes, just ask for David. You will witness bartending at its best and may even see a bottle twirling show.
Another personal recommendation: Order the chips and guacamole (made fresh three times a day) or the Cantina Rolls (a Mexican-ish take on an eggroll) to accompany your margarita.