There is a piece of advice that veteran bartenders will occasionally give to young ones: make someone a blue drink, and you'll be making blue drinks all night. The same, it turns out, is true of flaming margaritas. Need proof? Stop into the original El Compadre in Hollywood, and hear the first-time patrons ask their dates, "wow, did you see that?" Invariably, the next thing they will do is order a flaming margarita.
Floating on the surface of your beverage you will find a small disc of lemon, on top of which a pillar of blue flame burns, then dims, and eventually disappears. Why, you might be inclined to ask, are these margaritas on fire? The answer, of course, is "why not?" They are a celebration of decadent irrelevance, no more necessary in your drink than, say, an umbrella. The only truly useful questions are ones like, "rocks or blended?" and, "salt or no salt?" Margarita purists may be inclined to order it on the rocks, but let's be honest -- you're better off blending it, flavoring it with coconut, and embracing the kitsch.
El Compadre: 7408 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, (323) 874-7924.
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Look for more "Best of L.A." pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, out Oct. 7th.