Tucson: World Margarita Championship Winners

Joseph Blair sips the Pina margarita

Joseph Blair sips the Pina margarita

Tonight was the 7th Annual World Margarita Championship held at the beautiful Tucson Museum of Art courtyard. The temperate temperature gods were on their best behavior.

This year – I – Karyn Zoldan – was a judge and I had so much fun!

There were 8 judges divided into two teams so we each tasted and ranked different drinks and then the best of each team’s drinks competed for the judges prize.

The key ingredient was tequila (Tequila Penasco Plato, Sauza Hornitas Silver, Patron Silver, Cabo Wabo, Peligroso Tequila and more) and the end result was a margarita made with a variety of tequilas, other spirits, liquers, garnishes, peppers, jalapenos, spices, fruit, nectars, pop rocks, etc.

I think all the entrees were winners because they created a bit of magic in front of a live audience of not only judges but of the people who also voted.

Pop rocks was an ingredient

Pop rocks was an ingredient

This year Marinaterra Resort & Spa in San Carlos won the judges award and Ryan Clark from Lodge on the Desert won the people’s award. Congratulations! Last year, Marinaterra Resort won the people’s award (oh that tamarind) and Ryan Clark won the judges award.

My goal was to sip accordingly as I sampled several margaritas but the Pina Margarita from Marinaterra was over the top refreshing and I consumed not one, but two — first from the initial judging and then from the final two judging against Jonathan Cork’s A Hughes Prick (an odd name for a margarita) but came with a scoop of prickly pear sorbet.  If I closed my eyes while drinking the Pina margarita, I imagined myself on Baja beach, with a warm tropical breeze and bikini included. If a margarita can take me along with that fantasy — so be it!

2 semi finalists face off

2 semi finalists face off

Then the other team were raving about the Parish’s margarita so I sampled that. Yum. Celery seed and a vital balance of tart and sweet.

Aric Mussman from Noble Hops & Vero Amore was quite casual about making his drink. I think he was trying out for a Playgirl magazine photo shoot. He won for best sexy drink making.

Aric Mussman lounges while making his margarita

Aric Mussman lounges while making his margarita

Oh boy the food!  Nachos with pork belly chicharrones, pork sliders, spicy hot dogs in pretzel buns, yummy pumpkin gluten free sourdough bread with ganache (from Gourmet Girls Gluten-Free Bakery), vegan margarita cupcakes, Sonoran meatballs, gumbo, stuffed pasta shells, and more…so much more. The cool news is that Brushfire BBQ is going to open a creamery in their Kolb/22nd location and tonight we sampled some of their extraordinary flavors.

All in all it was a fabulous evening. I’m sure the judges had a blast as well as the volunteers, the hosts, and all the guests. Rock on Tucson Originals!

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