By Jessica H.
The city of Denver descended on Top Taco last evening, an all-inclusive event offering unlimited tacos, tequila cocktails (and shots!), awesome swag gifts, and a whole lot of fun. The festival is in its fourth year and took place at the River North Festival Grounds near the beautiful Platte River. Best Booze Denver were enlisted as tequila drink judges, so we arrived during the early entry hour to sample the goods. We’re so thankful judging occurred during the early entry hour because once the GA ticket holders were let in, things got crazy. And busy. But what would an epic party be without the masses?! It was a giant summertime fiesta with over 40 Denver restaurants slangin’ tacos and cocktails, tequila companies dishing out their best varieties, two stages with live music, photo booths, yard games, and much more. Needless to say, it was the hottest party of the summer.
My favorite tacos were from Scratch Burrito (who put an incredible seasoning on the tortilla) and Del Frisco’s Grille (who made their famous Ahi Tacos, which is simply a crunchy ahi tuna taco with avocado and spicy citrus mayo). The Professional Winner of the traditional taco category was Diego’s and the People’s Choice Winner was Machete. For the creative taco category, Scratch Burrito was the Professional Winner and Range was the People’s Choice Winner. Lastly, Comida took the gold as both the Professional and People’s Choice Winner in the vegetarian taco category.
Now let’s talk tequila. I think my absolute favorite tequila drink at the festival was Scratch Burrito’s Humble Bumblebee, which consisted of Peach Street D’Agave (peach tequila made from Palisade, Colorado peaches), Colorado wildflower honey, charred banana and pineapple, jalapeno, mint, and lemon. The Humble Bumblebee held the perfect contrast between sweet and spicy. Bananas and pineapple were charred over a grill, then flash-infused and muddled to create the perfect blackened notes in the cocktail.
I also really enjoyed Dos Santos’ Dos Tsunami because it was a twist on your classic Capri Sun — served in a bag with a straw! It was also ridiculously refreshing. This cocktail included Deleon Platinum, Teakoe Tea’s peach tea, guava nectar, Backyard Soda Company’s mango jalapeno syrup, fresh lime juice, and Tajin (a Mexican chile pepper seasoning) sprinkled on top.
My favorite shot of tequila had to be Codigo 1530’s Rosa. Codigo was serving up shots in ice shot glasses (yes, shot glasses made of ice), which may be the best way to take a chilled shot. The Rosa variety is Codigo 1530’s Blanco tequila aged in uncharred Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels for one month. Can you say I’m sold?!
The Professional Winner of the cocktail category was SOL Cocina and the People’s Choice Winner was Machete.
We are already stoked for next year’s Top Taco Denver! Until then, we will still be drinking a lot of tequila drinks and eating many, many tacos.
A big thank you to Top Taco and DiningOut Magazine Denver/Boulder for having us and to all of the wonderful restaurants, tequila folks, and rest of the crew that made the event possible. Cheers!