More than 800 people attended High Spirits Hospitality’s inaugural Tacos n’ Tequila Fiesta on Sunday.
“It takes hundreds of hours to plan a great event, especially the first year,” says Tammy Johnson, CEO of High Spirits Hospitality. “Now that we have the first year under our belt, we can continue to grow the event each year and craft it as one of Greenville’s must-do events of the year.”
The festival featured nearly a dozen different tacos and at least 16 tequila cocktails creations using Lunazul 100% Agave Tequila, all created by local restaurants and catering groups. A major part of the event was a contest to decide the best overall taco and tequila cocktail, with the winners earning the coveted Golden Sombrero award from a panel of three judges.
White Duck Taco, which will be opening next to Birds Fly South Ale Project in Hampton Station in May, won the Golden Sombrero for Best Overall Taco with a pork belly and pickled watermelon rind taco, and Stacey Wingate of Breakwater won for Best Overall Lunazul Cocktail with the light pink “Bad Hombre,” which featured a blackberry reduction.
Other judges’ panel award winners were Most Creative Taco, Restaurant 17’s “El Americano” (pecan braised pork shoulder, strawberry mojo, crème fraiche, cojita cheese, Anson Mills blue corn tortillas); Best Sidekick, Ji-Roz (spicy baklava); and Most Creative Cocktail, Whitney Woodward of Up on the Roof’s “Lila” (Lunazul blanco, crème de violet, honey syrup, jalapeño/ginger simple syrup and a shiso flower, with a lava salt rim).
Winners in the People’s Choice categories were Best Lunazul Cocktail, Hannah Mullikin of Gringo’s Cantina; Social Media Star, Ji-Roz; and Best Taco, Restaurant 17.
Other restaurants participating included Willy Taco, Tipsy Taco, Toss Pizza, Tin Lizzy’s, Sticky Fingers Ribhouse, Liquid Catering, Ink N Ivy, Nacho Taco, Papi’s Tacos, and Nose Dive.
“We knew early on that people were going to be interested in this event because of the strong reactions we got,” Johnson says. “But we didn’t expect this much support from the community the first time out.”