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You can now order liquor at St. Petersburg’s Red Mesa restaurant

For more than 20 years, Red Mesa’s original Fourth Street location just served beer and wine — even in the margaritas.
Tequila-based cocktails at Red Mesa Cantina, the downtown offshoot at Red Mesa, which just got its own liquor license. [SANTANA, LUIS  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Tequila-based cocktails at Red Mesa Cantina, the downtown offshoot at Red Mesa, which just got its own liquor license. [SANTANA, LUIS | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 8
Updated Jan. 8

Since 1995, regulars at Red Mesa have known the deal with the sangria. Red, white or “Margarita” (made with agave wine) or take your pick from one of the specialty blends. (Blueberry pomegranate, anyone?)

Lately, servers have been asking a new question: “Do you want that made with brandy, or the way we’ve always made it?”

After more than two decades in business, the restaurant on St. Petersburg’s bustling Fourth Street has finally gotten its hands on a liquor license. This means the option of brandy in your sangria, but more importantly, because this is a Mexican restaurant: margaritas.

The restaurant at 4912 Fourth St. N specializes in refined regional Mexican, Central American and Southwestern cuisines. It has inspired two more casual offshoots downtown, Red Mesa Cantina in 2009 and Red Mesa Mercado in 2014. Up until now, Cantina was the only one with a full bar — and an impressive one at that, with a wide variety of liquors that includes more than 100 kinds of mezcal.

Related: Mezcal, tequila's smoky cousin, is on the rise. Here's why.

Now, at Red Mesa’s original location, there’s not only a whole lineup of tequilas but also vodka, gin, scotch, whiskey and rum.

Margarita-wise, you can go classic (in a glass or pitcher) or choose from one of a handful of specialty flavors. We’re partial to the Hot Carlos, a spicy blend of Hornito’s Reposado tequila, muddled jalapeno peppers, lime juice and agave that gets shaken and tossed into a rocks glass garnished with a chili-salt rim.

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