Tucson Hosts The 7th Annual World Margarita Championship

On October 26th, celebrity mixologists from Mexico and the U.S. competed in the 7th annual World Margarita Championship in Tucson, Arizona. Each competitor took the stage and prepared their cocktail “Iron Chef-style” in front of a crowd of almost 900 and a renowned panel of industry judges. In the end two mixologists walked away with the event’s trophies—one for the People’s Choice vote and one for the World’s Greatest Margarita as decided by the judges.

After the judge’s votes were tallied, the title of the World’s Greatest Margarita went to Ryan Clark, Executive Chef/Mixologist from Lodge on the Desert for his specialty, Tatas and Tequila Margarita. The award-winning cocktail featured Tequila Penasco Reposado, Grand Marnier, pomegranate jam, pomegranate white balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon and lime juice.

Chef Ryan Clark of the Lodge on the Desert accepts his award.

“The drink had everything you’d look for in a craft cocktail,” said Jennifer English, Tucson broadcaster, culinary expert and one of the event’s four judges. “It was a beautiful drink, inspired and brilliantly flavored. I liked that it showcased the flavors of the Southwest and the Sonoran Desert. Great drink, great event.”

Joining English on the judging panel was Robert Plotkin, author and noted spirits authority, Adam Lehrman of the blog, Tucson Foodie, David Tyda, founder of the blog, EATERAZ.com, Kim M. Bayne, founder of Street Food Files (@streetfoodfiles), Joseph Blair, one of Tucson’s local sports stars and Rita Connelly, culinary writer for the Tucson Weekly.

The attendees were afforded the opportunity to visit the booths where the participating restaurants offered small plates of food and samples of their Margarita entries. When their votes were tallied at the end of the event the People’s Choice award went to Julio Blanco, head bartender at the Marinaterra Hotel & Spa in San Carlos, Mexico. His winning entry—San Carlos Margarita— a fresh and spicy blend of original ingredients, including Chamoy hot sauce, Tajin chili powder, dried mango slices, tamarind syrup, fresh lime juice, Cointreau and Tequila Penasco Tequila.

The World Margarita Championship was the opening event of The Tucson Culinary Festival, an annual affair sponsored by the Tucson Originals is a trade group comprised of restaurateurs whose eateries are original to Tucson and southern Arizona.


The judge’s winning cocktail, Tata’s & Tequila Margarita and The People’s Choice winning drink, the San Carlos Margarita

Specialty of Chef Ryan Clark - Lodge on the Desert, Tucson, Arizona

2 oz. Penasco Reposado
1 oz. Grand Marnier
2.5 oz. citrus syrup (see recipe below)
2-3 drops Queen Creek Pomegranate-White Balsamic Vinegar
.25 oz. pomegranate jam (see recipe below)

Measure all ingredients into a bar drink shaker. Add large ice cubes and shake vigorously until contents well chilled. Pour drink into a Mason Jar and garnish with a pomegranate seed cluster and fresh lime

Citrus Syrup:
2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz sugar
Bring all ingredients to a boil.  Chill.

Pomegranate Jam:
4 oz pomegranate seeds
4 oz pomegranate juice
¼ t agar agar
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Strain and chill until set.



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