And the winners are: Top Taco margarita and taco throwdown at Sculpture Park

Categories: Booze

Kevin Galaba
Squeaky Bean's braised beef and shrimp taco, topped with alcheto, yuzu and salsa verde.
"We're the biggest tequila bar in the city -- we should be winning margarita contests," saysLa Biblioteca bartender Ben Carrington of his double-win in the margarita category at Top Taco. The taco and margarita competition, which took place Thursday, June 26 at Sculpture Park, pitted area restaurants against each other to win both people's choice and judges' trophies; proceeds from the event benefitted the Colorado Restaurant Association's Education ProStart scholarship program.

Keep reading for more information on Carrington's winning margarita, and photos of the event --- including the tasty tacos...

See also:
Richard Sandoval's La Biblioteca opens

Kevin Galaba
La Biblioteca's Ben Carrington's winning margarita: tequila, avocado puree, chili-spiced syrup, blueberry-infused tapioca pearls.
"I wanted to do something outside the box," Carrington says of his R.D.A., or Recommended Daily Allowance. Carrington's margarita won not only the popular vote cast by event attendees, but also the critical judges' vote.

Carrington combined Dulce Vida reposada tequila, a chile-spiced syrup and avocado puree to make his cocktail. His clever garnish took the drink to the next level: Tapioca pearls were boiled down with blueberry juice and sugar to create small, purple spheres. Those spheres rested at the bottom of the drink to create a surprising textural finish.

"There's a lot of great people that do tequila in the city, but we want to be the standout," Carrington says of La Biblioteca, the restaurant at 1610 Little Raven Street where he's a bartender. "We want to be the quintessential establishment to go to for tequila."

Carrington recently relocated here from Ohio. "I've bartended for a very long time," he notes. "Denver definitely has an understanding of the spirits world. I think I have an easy job because I focus on one spirit -- tequila. I have a ton of them, and I have to know a lot about all of them. "

Carrington admires Denver's close-knit bartending community. "If you go to places like Williams & Graham, they're trying to teach people," he says. "If you go to Squeaky Bean, Colt and Gray , Ste. Ellie, Green Russell -- they're all trying to teach people more about spirits. I've worked with a lot of these guys. I go see them all the time. It's great to have that camaraderie.

"Personally, I don't see Top Taco as a competition," Carrington adds. "I see it as everybody trying to elevate each other. That's what Denver is about. The first thing I did today when the competition was over, was go and get a margarita from Machete."

Keep reading to find out which tacos came out on top at Top Taco...

Location Info

La Biblioteca

1610 Little Raven Street, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Colt & Gray

1553 Platte St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Ste. Ellie

1553 Platte St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Green Russell

1422 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Machete Tequila + Tacos

2817 E. 3rd Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Comida Cantina

3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

The Source

3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: General

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Fun event  with the proceeds going to a good cause. I would have liked to see some of the Federal restaurants participate having more of the real street food feel rather than top Denver chef's prepare items from restaurants that don't normally serve tacos.

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