More than 800 flavor thrill seekers packed into the River Market pavilions last night for the Arkansas Times Spring Margarita Festival. It was unseasonably chilly for late April, but it didn’t matter; the margs were flowing like wine.

If you’ve never experienced an Arkansas Times Margarita Festival, you should keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming fall festival. Fifteen local restaurants had bartender representatives on hand shaking up creative spins on the classic cocktail with sponsor Milagro tequila. El Sur co-owner Luis Vasquez said they brought the same amount of margaritas as last year, and they were nearly out by 8 p.m. Samples were available for all ticket holders, who are encouraged to vote for their favorites.

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Jonathan Ortiz of Big Whiskey’s celebrates their first place finish.

The big winner was a peach cobbler margarita from Big Whiskey’s. Bartender Jonathan Ortiz said the crew at the River Market restaurant performed a few small batches over the past few weeks to prepare. It featured fresh peaches, peach simple syrup, caramel, cinnamon sugar, fresh lime juice, moonshine and tequila. Ortiz said they will serve the cocktail at Big Whiskey’s moving forward. Second place went to All in a Bowl‘s “Hibiscus Dark Cherry infused Anita Rita.” El Sur claimed third place.

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Here’s a slideshow from Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson, a Margarita Fest veteran, who said the food provided by Mr. Cajun’s Kitchen for VIP ticket holders was delightful.

 

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