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.
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.