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Corazón Contento: Margaritas de Tamarindo

By Karla Ortiz

At the top of our beloved Historic Center is a hidden jewel that many Sanmiguelenses frequent not only for its historical significance but for the good taste and fun to be had there. It is a cantina known as El Manantial, located in the El Chorro neighborhood.

What’s the significance of the name? Well, legend says that the founding of San Miguel el Grande (the originally site of the city) happened after Fray Juan de San Miguel noticed some dogs drinking from a manantial (a natural spring). He named the area “El Chorro.”

That manantial has long since dried up, but the cantina that is its namesake is going strong, in business since 1920.

El Manantial used to be a traditional cantina like ones all over Mexico, where only men went in—no women, no dogs, and not even police could enter. But for the last seven years, the cantina has been updated and open to the entire public. Perhaps evocative of its new concept is the hand-painted black-and-white mural depicting the game of the Oca, a traditional Mexican board game.

The place has become famous for its mainly seafood menu. People come for the fish or for the shrimp toast, which of course they have with a few beers. For those who don’t eat seafood, El Manantial also has a choice of meats and salads. But one of its huge attractions is its tamarind margaritas, which is why El Manantial opened its doors to give us its recipe for this refreshing drink.


Margarita de Tamarindo


2 oz tamarind pulp

2 oz tequila or mezcal

1 dash of lemon juice

1 dash of ginger juice

1 oz orange liqueur

1 glass

1 shaker

Half a lime

Piquín chili powder (known in English as pequin pepper)




Spread a generous amount of the Piquin chili powder around the rim of a small plate, pass the lime over the edge of the margarita glass, and turn the glass upside down onto the plate to coat the glass’s rim with the piquin chili powder. Place the ice, tamarind pulp, tequila or mezcal, orange liqueur, lime juice, and ginger into a shaker and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. Pour into the frosted glass, and enjoy your margarita!


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