Iron Cactus: Setting The ‘Rita Bar Low

16 Feb

Caitlin and I came to Iron Cactus once in the dog days of Austin’s brutal 2011 summer and thoroughly enjoyed our frozen margaritas. I think we’re learning our first lesson of ‘rita blogging. Any frozen drink tastes great when it’s 100 degrees outside. It was a whole different story when we came back in February. After a wonderful Little Lo set at The Parish, we decided to take a break from the Oh Snap! Festival to duck in for a drink. We sat down at the bar and I asked for a drink menu, to look at their margarita options. I still can’t process why the bartender didn’t agree to that request. They have an extensive, multi-page drink list on their website. I’m pretty sure they have something in the restaurant. Instead, he forced me to ask like five follow-up questions to find out they had strawberry, mango and prickly pear and a variety of tequilas. None of which he named. It was incredibly frustrating and extremely unnecessary. It only got worse when the drinks came.

To keep with consistency from our last ‘ritas at Vivo, Caitlin got the strawberry and I got the prickly pear. Above is the strawberry. Caitlin was convinced it was the prickly pear*. I figured from the floating things that it was the strawberry, but was almost too in awe of something else to verify with the bartender. This was a large? In a plastic cup? With no salt rim? Really?** Look, if it was a packed club and they just had to pump out drinks, that would be one thing, but it was all kinds of spacious in there. No one was waiting for drinks. Pretty lame to not offer a salt-rimmed glass and, you know, use a glass? We’re not children. This was a $9.50 drink? Please.

*I was totally convinced it was the prickly pear. I thought it looked ugly, the one they brought Zack was strawberry-pink, and there was no flavor to it whatsoever.

**I don’t know if it was because we had told the guy we wanted to close out our tabs immediately or what, but there were two bottle-blond chickadees sitting together right next to us, and they got glasses with salted rims.

I just pulled up the VIVO’s Prickly Pear post to refresh myself on how I set up the rating scale and it reminded me how ridiculously bad this one was in comparison. It had nothing resembling the wild new, bold flavors of the prickly pear I’d just grown a taste for. It wasn’t salty at all, which it should be even without the salt rim. It tasted sweet, but bland and unrecognizable. Let’s get right to the rating.

Prickly Pear Frozen

  • Taste: 3/10. This was OK for a frozen drink I suppose, but it was nothing special and didn’t even taste like the flavor it was advertised as. There was so little bark to it as well. I couldn’t taste the alcohol, which you should be able to in a good strong ‘rita. It was bland and totally forgettable.
  • Value: 1/10. I was genuinely offended. This is the large size? I wish I hadn’t taken this pic from close up. I should have at least held up a pinky to demonstrate how tiny it was. It’s barely bigger than the $1.00 ‘ritas at Freddie’s Place and not even as tasty. I’m making a face just thinking about it. I can’t remember the last time I felt so ripped off.
  • Presentation: 0/10. No salt. A plastic cup?! What a joke. I literally can’t imagine them putting less effort in this, unless they told me to stick out my hands and poured the pitcher right into them. Even that would be kind of cool. What a nightmare. It makes me glad we didn’t follow up on my original idea of pre-arranging with restaurants to get us some kind of special treatment. They definitely gave us glasses and salted them last time we were there. 
  • Overall: 2/10. I didn’t want to mention it, but screw it. I think the bartender was drunk. I enjoyed him whistling along to The Black Keys, but he spilled an incredible amount of alcohol making some mixed drinks later and was sloppy. Trust me. I know sloppy drunk. I will never come here again.
Strawberry Frozen
  •  Taste: 0/10. I much, much preferred Freddie’s $1 margs in taste (although, admittedly, we drank those on a 100 degree day too). But still, I thought the taste was totally gross. Mine was beyond weak — it didn’t taste like strawberry, but rather like some odd chemical tasting thing that I choked down on principle because of how much I’d paid for it. Awful.
  • Value: 0/10. Again, the cup size was almost identical to Freddie’s, and 9 times as much. There was no value here.
  • Presentation: 0/10. In a plastic cup, and mine (as you can see above) looked like someone pissed in it and then kind of swirled around some strawberries.
  • Overall: 0/10. Totally worthless. I will never drink one of these again.

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