This weekend, Dallas bartenders take Margarita out for a spin; you and a good cause reap the benefits

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Margarita cocktail

The classic Margarita. Photo courtesy of LetsGetTwisted.com

The Margarita transcends definition as a simple cocktail. I mean, it is a simple cocktail — tequila, orange liqueur, lime and sweetener — but like the Martini, it’s carved out its own familiar niche on the American cultural landscape: The average person may never have even tried a Manhattan, or a Mai Tai, but everyone’s had a Margarita. Probably several. In succession.

But let’s say you’re tired of standard Margaritaville. You want a Margarita, but… not quite a Margarita. Oh, what the heck, maybe a beer — wait, what’s that guy drinking over there? Why, that’s a Margarita “Push-Up,” the winner of last year’s annual Margarita Meltdown.

Yes, if that’s the sort of Margarita madness you crave, Sunday’s third annual Margarita Meltdown — in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District — may be the place for you. And an estimated 2,000 other people.

Sponsored by Milagro Tequila, the festival runs from 5 to 10 pm, and more than two dozen restaurants will be putting their own spin on the classic drink. For just $20, you can try them all and then vote (via text, by 8 pm) for those you think are worth their salt.

Standard Pour's Brian McCullough

Standard Pour's Brian McCullough represented at Margarita Meltdown 2012. Photo courtesy of Nico Ponce.

Tickets, which can be bought here, benefit La Voz del Anciano (“The Voice of the Elderly”), an organization that helps Spanish-speaking elders overcome cultural and language barriers to access community resources. This year’s participating restaurants include Asador, Ten Bells Tavern, Mesa, Urban Taco, Bowl & Barrel, Lark at the Park, Pozo Mercado, DaLat, Boulevardier and The Ranch at Las Colinas.

“What’s the one cocktail everybody drinks?” says event co-organizer Nico Ponce. “It’s a Margarita. I have a 94-year-old grandmother who will still put down a Margarita.”

Then again, these  aren’t your grandma’s Margaritas: La Duni’s Daniel Guillen, for instance, plans a version made with tequila, herbal bitters, lime and a homemade cordial flavored with cucumber, pepper and star anise. Prepare for Margarita alchemy, my friends.

The winner of the competition gets a $1,000 prize and a spot at the Dallas Craft Cocktail TX festival on Labor Day weekend. Last year’s prize went to Plano’s Whiskey Cake; the inaugural year’s to Iron Cactus.

 

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