Creative Loafing's Margarita Wars 2017

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Your favorite tequila battle was back for a fourth year!

It was that time of the year again—time to celebrate the best guilty pleasure of the summer (and, um, basically every other season in Florida): the margarita!

Attendees sampled their way around Hornitos® Tequila margaritas created by more than 15 of the Tampa Bay area’s best mixologists and tried their hand at tipsy judging as THEY helped award ‘Tampa Bay’s Best Margarita’ at Margarita Wars!

Plus, they enjoyed Mexican-inspired bites from local restaurants, a photo booth by Premier Photo Booths of Tampa, and more!

Hosted by Ian Beckles.

Let's fiesta, Loafers!

Creative Loafing's Margarita Wars 2017
Friday, July 28th | TPepin's Hospitality Centre
VIP: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. | GA: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

RSVP to the Facebook event and invite your friends here!

Congrats to Besito Mexican Restaurant - they walked away with the Judges' AND Attendees' Picks!
The Bricks came in second and Datz came in third.
Thanks to all of the bartenders for bringing their A-game!


Acropolis Greek Taverna | Andrea Simonelli

“Acropolis Summer Rita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, juicy, fresh watermelon, shaken with cool cucumber, & a jalapeño kick

Beach Bar & Restaurant | Jenny Niato
“Beach Margarita” - Traditional-style margarita with Hornitos® Plata Tequila, fresh lime juice, housemade simple syrup, & triple sec - but what makes this margarita unique is the finishing touch: a jello shot

Besito Mexican | Julia Sowa
“Not Your Average Margarita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, Besito’s house blend of nine tropical fruit juices, fresh lime juice, & a super secret ingredient added to a sugar rim… get ready to pucker up for a "besito" (little kiss)

Bob Heilman's Beachcomber | Matthew Moscato
“The Vineyard Margarita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, Triple sec, fresh sour fusion, & agave nectar, topped with Oregon Pinot Noir & garnished with a rosemary sprig

Brewlands Bar and Billiards | Danielle Kirkland
“Beachin' Rita” - Florida twist on a classic with Hornitos® Plata Tequila, St. Petersburg Distillery Tippler's Orange Liqueur, & a mix of strawberry & watermelon flavors

Cassis American Brasserie | Rachel Rinehart
“The Smoking Gun” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, hardwood-smoked citrus, triple sec, chili, cilantro, agave nectar, & a coriander salt rim

Datz | Michael Hughes
“Mother of Dragons” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, charred habanero, red pepper simple syrup, & muddled filthy black cherries

District Tavern | Ryan Fitzgerald
“That'll Do, Pig” - Bacon fat-washed Hornitos® Plata Tequila, Thai chili, orange brandy, blue agave nectar, & charred lime

First Chance Last Chance | Jackie King
“Sweet Heat” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila pineapple margarita with habanero-infused agave

Flanagan's Irish Pub | Jade Seibert
“Yuzu Habanero Margarita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, yuzu purée, mango habanero sugar, fresh lemon juice, & a dash of cinnamon

Iberian Rooster | Whitney Smith
“The Machete” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, ghost pepper tincture, cucumber syrup, fresh lime, aquafaba, & ancho chile liqueur

O Cocina Modern Mexican | Sean O'Donnell
“Indecent Exposure” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, Lillet Blanc, housemade cucumber shrub, housemade cactus pear puree, lime, & hibiscus water topped with Avocado & Grand Marnier foam

Park & Rec | Terrance Walz
“Pickle Berry Consuela” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, housemade pickled berries, agave nectar, fresh squeezed lime juice, & a lime sugar salt rim

Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro | Stephen Bessette
“Zakuromu (Pomegranate Moon)” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, pomegranate & kiwi pulp, Yuzu citrus sour mix, sesame oil, togarashi, & a black sea salt rim garnished with candied shishito peppers

Sea Salt St. Pete | Paulie Favara
“Spiced Watermelon Margarita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, fresh lime juice, watermelon-jalapeño simple syrup, Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb, & a Salish® Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt rim

Suegra Tequila Cantina | Richard Thomsen
“Tommy's Flip Flop” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, roasted corn syrup, lime, & corn & tequila foam garnished with a margarita gelatin lime wheel

Taps Restaurant Bar & Lounge | Scott Wenger
"Toes in the Water, Ass in the Sand" - Hornitos® Plata Tequila & carbonated Tamarind margarita soda topped with a secret garnish

The Avenue Eat + Drink | Madison Colmorgen

“The Angry Mermaid” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, agave, lemon juice, coconut water, Sriracha, & muddled strawberry

The Bricks | Kyle Nalls
“Mez-Khalifa” - More of a traditional-style margarita with sugar, lime, & Hornitos® Plata Tequila, but with a local coffee element & topped with a lemon egg white Mezcal foam for aroma & garnish

The Bungalow Restaurant and Bar | Tony Wilt
“The Melon-Rita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, fresh watermelon, & lime

The Ox | David M. Carney
“Taco Tuesday” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, avocado, cucumber, cilantro, lime, salt, dry vermouth, simple syrup, & a cumin & salt rim

World of Beer | Emily Barth
“Fresca Margarita” - Hornitos® Plata Tequila, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, & strawberries garnished with cucumber & a pink himalayan salt rim


BesitoChips & guac
Little Donut HouseMini donuts
Portillo'sLemon cake
The OxJackfruit Tacos, Alabama Pork Tacos, & Seared Strip Steak

This event has sold out in previous years!



General Admission
$50 Advance (Now - July 27th)
$60 Door (July 28th) 
GA includes margarita samples from each bar/restaurant, Mexican-inspired bites, & voting in the 'Tampa Bay's Best Margarita' contest.

VIP Admission
$75 Advance (Now - July 27th) 
$85 Door (July 28th)
VIP Admission includes early entry for an extra hour of sampling from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. without the crowds, margarita samples from each bar/restaurant, Mexican-inspired bites, one commemorative swag item, one draft beer, voting in the 'Tampa Bay's Best Margarita' contest, & more VIP-only perks.

Need a ride to or from Margarita Wars?! We've teamed up with Lyft to help! First-time Lyft users, get your first ride free up to $20 by downloading the app, creating an account, and entering the code CLTAMPA in the 'Payment' section at checkout.

Special thanks to our sponsors and partners Hornitos® Tequila, Watch Your BAC, Bud Light Lime, Ameriprise Financial, & Lyft!

Check out a video from previous Margarita Wars events below!
Thank you to Tampa Bay video studio, Roundhouse Creative, for capturing all of the fun!

For more information, please contact Alexis Chamberlain at [email protected] or 813.739.4879.
21+ only. Programming subject to change. Event takes place rain or shine. No refunds available.
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