Art & Soul Wins Margarita Wars!

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It’s a beautiful sunny day. The sky is blue. You’ve had a long week. So, when Thursday comes around, what could you use? How about trying a few many unique margaritas while watching the sunset on a downtown DC rooftop?

Sounds pretty good, eh? Last week, the Washington City Paper hosted their second Margarita Wars Competition at the Liaison Capitol Hill. Though the weather was rainy and the event got moved inside, that had no impact on how much fun it was.

Mixologists from a variety of margarita-licious DC restaurants crafted their own tequila-ladden concoctions, vying for votes, in the form of poker chips, from the public. The restaurant/mixologist with the most chips at the end of the night would be dubbed the 2014 Margarita Wars Champion.

Some of the participating restaurants included El Chucho, El Centro (Georgetown & 14th Street locations), Smith Commons, Casa Oaxaca, City Tap House, El Rey, Cuba Libre, GBD, Gibson, Southern Hospitality, Agua 301, and Art & Soul.

There were spicy margs, sweet margs, margs with rum and tequlia, margs with salted rims, sugared rims, rims with chili powder…

The winning margarita was from Art & Soul and had an oyster in it!

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The Mother of Pearl margarita, crafted by Art & Soul mixologist Ronald Flores. The exact ingredients weren’t listed, but I believe the idea was that the saltiness of the drink would come from the oyster itself, rather than from traditional table salt or sea salt. Pretty neat. If you closed your eyes and took a sip, you probably wouldn’t know there was an oyster in there (for better or for worse). It tasted like a refreshing, well-balanced margarita. Not too sweet. I could definitely drink them all night…

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Some of the other margaritas represented included…

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The Tamarita from City Tap House. It has a kick to it but wasn’t tooooo spicy. You can even see the drink being put together…

The spiciest one of the night was from Smith Commons:

Smith Commons

Spicy Honey Basil. It was AWESOME, and very spicy. Just how I like ’em.

El Centro had their Georgetown location serving up 2 types of margaritas, and their 14th street location pouring 2 more.

First up, Georgetown:

El Centro Georgetown

They looked like this:

El Centro Georgetown (3)

The green one (cucumber) tasted almost healthy…which was a nice feeling I suppose (though of course, it’s not actually healthy..). The other one, carrot, was very refreshing and (luckily, in my opinion) did not taste much like carrot. I think it just added some color. Really good! Definitely unique and creative.

Onto the 14th street El Centro:

El Centro 14 street (3)

El Centro 14 street (4)

The pineapple serrano (on the left, with the chili powder on the rim) was a tantalizing combination of sweet pineapple and spicy serrano pepper. Kind of fun in your mouth– I liked it. The ginger marg, if you like ginger, was delicious. It didn’t have a harsh zing (which ginger can sometimes give off), but rather had just enough ginger taste. I’ve been on a ginger kick lately so I was pretty excited. It was one of my favorites of the night.

Cuba Libre had a pretty cool idea. Make a super awesome margarita, with tequila, PLUS add a *kiss* of rum on top.

Cuba Libre (3)

A margajito, if you will.

The folks at Casa Oaxaca were the most friendly, entertaining, and fun. Team Sexy is what they called themselves.

Casa Oaxaca

Their drink? The Wahaka Smokey Guava. Aka the pretty pink drink.

It was on the sweeter side, but not overly sweet. It was a great fruity margarita.

I was surprised when I heard GBD would be there, as I always associate them with chicken and doughnuts; however, they certainly held their own with a tasty marg!

I don’t know why, but this one just tasted cool…I would have no idea how to try to recreate it.  I’m thinking  the secret must have been in the House-made Australian Galaxy Hop syrup.

The last one I’ll highlight is El Chucho’s Strawberry-Rhubarb with Tarragon Salt.

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It even had a (dried?) sliced strawberry in it. So pretty! Who doesn’t love a pretty drink?

 The one thing I’ll say is that if someone made a frozen margarita, they would have received my vote. Really though, all of the margaritas were delicious in their own right. They exemplified creativity from the different mixologists and enticed me to go to all of the restaurants.

The night was awesome. Drinks were flowing. People were merry. I hope this is an annual event because I cannot wait to go back next year!

Rachel and Tara


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