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Wednesday, Aug 15, 2018
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Tampa area mixologists will compete with cocktails at Margarita Wars

We are aware we keep harping about how hot is outside, and finally someone is offering a fun solution — ice-cold margaritas.

On July 30, Creative Loafing’s Margarita Wars wages battle with thirst as 17 mixologists from area restaurants, craft their unique take on the popular cocktail — and you get to vote for the best one.

The event is 7 to 10 p.m. at TPepin’s Hospitality Center in Temple Terrace.

“Margarita Wars is an event that we put together with two things in mind,” said Gina Moccio, marketing and events manager at Creative Loafing, “The first is to create an experience for locals where they can cool off indoors and enjoy several versions of this classic cocktail in the middle of Tampa Bay’s notoriously hot summer.

“The second was to showcase Tampa Bay’s best mixologists.”

And don’t worry about the margarita samples getting to your head too fast because there also will be Mexican-inspired bites to try as well. The food comes from popular eateries including Datz, Roux, Anise Global Gastrobar, Taqueria Dona Maria, Tijuana Flats and Acropolis Greek Tavern.

The winning bartender is honored for making “Tampa Bay’s Best Margarita,” and he or she will also represent their employers at the 25th anniversary of Best of the Bay awards party, said Moccio.

Last year, Datz mixologist Morgan Zuch won with her Rosy Pig, a strawberry, smoked rose concoction. She is competing this year as well.

“It was a lot of fun last year, and exciting,” said Zuch, who this year will make a Crouching Pig, Hidden Dragon, described as fruity but light and summery. “It’s great for the restaurant and shows what we can do as far as cocktails besides food.”

Tickets to the event are $50 in advance and $60 at the door (if available). A VIP package ($75 and $85) includes an extra hour of tasting, line-free sampling, an exclusive margaritas tote bag, two drink tickets valid for Bud Light or Lime-A-Ritas, and voting in the Tampa Bay’s Best Margarita competition.

A portion of the proceeds go to Current Initiatives, a nonprofit organization that does work in the bay area, including the Laundry Project, Hopes for Home Project and Affordable Christmas.

Mixologists come from: Anise Global Gastrobar, Datz, Hablo Taco, Noble Crust, The Mandarian Hide, Salty’s Gulfport, Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, Roux, Sea Sea Riders, The Bourgeois Pig, The Bricks, EATS! American Grill, Acropolis Greek Tavern, The Birchwood, Del Frisco’s Grille, The Hollander and Sea Salt.

“We would love if Tampa Bay was not only known for its great food, but also for its fantastic cocktails and the sheer number of great places that offer delicious and unique drinks.” Moccio said.

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