Tucson: World Margarita Championship 2011

Cocktails, Anyone?

World Margarita Championship

It’s all about the tequila!  This year we thirsty margarita sample sippers will mill around like we always do going from margarita tasting to margarita tasting quenching our thirst and sampling delicious nibbles. What’s different is that the mixologists from the competing restaurants will “mix it up” in front of the judges. Perform!

The judges will judge and the people (that’s you and me) will vote for their favorites too.

I confess this is my favorite Tucson Culinary Festival event and this year one of my friends from L.A. who is visiting will be joining me and my foodie friends in this tasteful experience.

From the (gossipy) press release

Tucson, Ariz— The 2011 Tucson Culinary Festival kicks off on Thursday, October 27th with the 6th annual World Margarita Championship TM.   This year is jam packed with exciting competitions, special guests and tequila sponsors.

Let the games begin…
The Margarita competition consists of 14 competing restaurants. Two restaurants will go head to head at a time creating their special margarita in front of a panel of celebrity judges.

Competition Schedule:
6:40 pm                       Boca vs. Jonathan’s Cork using Patron Tequila

6:50 pm                       Cup Café vs. Bushi using Corralejo Tequila

7:00 pm                       Kingfisher vs. Mayan Palace using Sauza Hornitos Tequila

7:10 pm                       La Cocina vs. Pastiche using Cabo Wabo and Espolon Tequilas

7:20 pm                       La Fuente vs. Pasco using Avion Tequila

7:30 pm                       Maynard’s vs. Conelas using Milagro Tequila

7:40 pm                       Sol Casino vs. Lodge on the Desert using Sauza Tres Generaciones Tequila

Among the eight tequila sponsors are two “celebrity” spirits:

Cabo Wabo Tequila  – Cabo Wabo Tequila was born in 1996 on the back roads of Guadalajara by legendary musician and tequila aficionado, Sammy Hagar of Van Halen. After searching for a tequila exceptional enough to serve inside his cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Sammy partnered with a tequila-making family with over 80 years of experience. Today, the agave used to make Cabo Wabo Tequila is grown, cultivated and harvested by this same family.

Avion – Tequila Avion has transcended beyond product placement into a major plot line in the Seventh Season of HBO’s Entourage.  The show’s back story for Tequila Avion is fiction (Turtle isn’t their brand rep and Marc Cuban isn’t on the hunt to buy the company) but the tequila is very real. In the real world, Tequila Avion is based in New York City and run by Ken Austin a former Senior Vice President of Seagram’s and CMO of Marquis Jet. The tequila made its way on to Entourage because Marquis Jet CEO Kenny Dichter and Tequila Avion partner, grew up with Doug Ellin, the creator of the HBO series.

Celebrity Judges:
Dale DeGroff – aka “King Cocktail

Meredith May – Publisher/editor of The Tasting Panel

Michael Rosen – Prolific author, illustrator and chef

Robert Plotkin: From Tucson – An expert in the field of mixology and beverage management, with over 30 years of industry experience and writing for trade publications –

Jennifer English: From Tucson – Host of Bottoms Up!, a pioneer in culinary broadcasting, winner of both James Beard and Gracie Allen awards, a leading flavor trend expert in the country, and a Tucson treasure.

Linda West Eckhardt: – award winning American culinary writer, author of 18 books. Founder, editor and publisher of Everybody Eats News

Mary Alice Kellogg – Award-winning travel/food/features writer, editor, whose credits include Bon Appétit, NY Times, Newsweek, Glamour and more. She is this year’s recipient of the Monica Flin Award.

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