The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 58 of 128

EVENT RECAP Tucson's Top Tipple C elebrity mixologists from Mexico and the U.S. competed in the sixth annual World Margarita Championship in Tucson in October. Each competitor took the stage and prepared their cocktail Iron Chef–style in front of the crowd and a panel of industry renowned judges. In the end, only two walked away Tamarindo Margarita. The blended cock- tail featured Avión Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, chili powder, tamarind pulp, lime and orange juice. "The drink had everything you'd look for in a craft cocktail," said Dale DeGroff, leg- endary mixologist and one of the event's four judges. "It was balanced, beautiful to look at and brilliantly fl avored. I liked that it showcased the fl avors of the Southwest and the Sonoran Desert. Great drink, great event." Joining DeGroff on the judg- ing panel were Meridith May, Publisher/Executive Editor of THE TASTING PANEL; Robert Plotkin, author and noted spirits authority and radio personality; and culinary expert Jennifer English. The winning team from La Fuente Restaurant react to the news. The event drew 450–500 spectators, all of whom were afforded the opportunity to visit the booths where the participating restaurants offered small plates of food and samples of their Margarita entries. The judges included (left to right) Dale DeGroff , Jennifer English and Robert Plotkin. with the event's two trophies, one for the People's Choice vote and one for the World's Greatest Margarita as decided by the judges. After the judges' votes were tallied, the title of World's Greatest Margarita went to Gustavo del Toro of Tucson's La Fuente Mexican Restaurant for his specialty, the 58 / the tasting panel / december 201 1 When their votes were counted the People's Choice award went to Julio Blanco, Head Bartender at the Marinaterra Hotel & Spa in San Carlos, Mexico. His winning entry—Margarita Marinaterra—was a spicy blend of Sauza Hornitos Reposado, Chamoy Hot Sauce, Tajin Chile, dry mango, jamaica concentrate, lemon juice and triple sec. The World Margarita Championship was the opening event of The Tucson Culinary Festival, an annual affair sponsored by the Tucson Originals, a trade group comprised of restaurateurs whose eateries are original to Tucson and southern Arizona. Read more about the Who's Who of Tucson in our next issue! ─Robert Plotkin ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ BARTENDERS COMPETE IN THE WORLD MARGARITA CHAMPIONSHIP TAMARINDO MARGARITA Judges' choice for the World's Greatest Margarita specialty of Gustavo del Toro and La Fuente Restaurant, Tuscon 2 oz. Avión Silver Tequila 1 oz. Grand Marnier ½ oz. lime juice ½ oz. orange juice ½ tsp. tamarindo purée 1 tsp. sugar Rim glass with coarse salt and chili powder Lime wheel and tamarindo peel for garnish Combine tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice, orange juice, tamarindo purée and sugar in a blender canister with cup of ice. Blend thoroughly and serve in a Margarita glass rimmed with coarse salt and chili powder. Garnish with a lime wheel and speared tamarindo peel. ■ Tamarino purée: To make enough purée to prepare four Margaritas, begin with 1½ pounds of fresh tamarindos. Boil the fruit for approximately 45 minutes or until they are tender. Allow the fruit to cool and strain to remove the seeds. Add ½ tsp. of salt and sugar and then blend the fruit pulp until a purée. PHOTO: ANDREW BROWN PHOTO: ANDREW BROWN

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