Salud is an indoor/outdoor venue located inside the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, Ariz., and the current lobby lounge supervisor Juan Carlos Ruiz has kept a tradition going that his predecessor began many years ago. Salud stocks 115 types of tequila, and each day at 5:30 p.m., rain or shine, people gather to end the workday and propose a free, traditional tequila toast with glasses raised to the Tucson Mountain Park beyond. Ruiz leads the toast, and he retells the “Legend of Arriba, Abaja,” a sweet love story involving the Mexican spirit, to groups as large as 150 people.
“It’s a love story,” explains Ruiz, “that we tell all the guests on the patio, and through it, we are able to incorporate culture and history. Not only does it draw our hotel guests, but the public as well, and it has been rated a top thing to do in Tucson by several magazines.”
Each day features a different half-ounce tequila pour, and Ruiz finds that almost everyone stays to have a full-sized tequila cocktail after the toast concludes, with the majority choosing the featured tequila for inclusion in their drink.
“We have a calendar where we can check off which tequilas we have used,” he says.
There are no sponsors for the event, but Ruiz does get his staff in on the action.
“We have our servers recommend our cocktails that come with the featured tequila, especially the drinks that are a step outside of the box from a Margarita.”