Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Margarita Tour of Telluride

Telluride regulars, and that means pretty everyone at this fest, have habits and traditions. I mentioned some of the Town Park camp traditions in my last post, but we condoids have dveloped a few, too. In our case, it's the Margarita Tour of Telluride.

The Tour is intended to get us reacquainted with the local watering holes and rate each one's quality. Our measurement tool is a lovely, refreshing adult beverage, the Margarita. The process is simple: we order a pair of margs at each stop on the tour, and assign a rating of one to five stars. We consider several factors in our scientific survey.

1. prompt, friendly service
2. formula, especially the balance between mix and fresh lime
3. degree of tequilativity - the number of molecules of tequila compared to the number of taste buds
4. tartness of the finish
5. price

Each stop on the tour must first and foremost be a bar, not a restaurant that also features mixed drinks. In the case of bars that also offer food, our application of the eligibility rule leaned to the alcoholic side.

The results of this year's Margarita Tour of Telluride were somewhat surprising. Here they are.

New Sheridan Hotel Bar ($13.00)
In past MToT's the New Sheridan Hotel Bar was a frequent winner. This year, not so much. The New Sheridan's daytime bartender was prompt enough but the margs were hobbled by a weak, unbalanced formula that produced an overly tart finish. There was virtually no tequilativity, and as one of the pricier rounds on the Tour, we expected a little bit more. ***

Floradora ($14.00)
There's always a bar named "The Floradora" in Telluride, but the frequent changes in management have prevented recent owners from developing consistency in bar staff. This year, we're pleased to report a surprisingly agreeable experience. The decor has been upgraded and the bartender was pleasantly efficient. We found the formula more balanced than the New Sheridan's with only a slightly tart finish. However, its degreee of tequilativity was subpar. ***1/2

The Last Dollar Saloon ($11.00)
The Last Dollar is a TBF standard, favored for low-cost high-octane fare and possibly the best people-watching in town. The Dollar's entry in the Tour was a reasonably priced pint that featured a delicious formula equally poised between the sweet and tart. These margs boasted a balanced tequilativity at a reasonable price. And they have Steve Earle on the jukebox. ****

O'Bannon's ($10.50)
In a surprise ending, the Margarita's at O'Bannon's easily claimed first place in this year's Margarita Tour of Telluride. Bartender Travis served a pair of no-holds-barred drinks that relied more on the brute force of their superb tequilativity augmented by the precisely balanced formula. Fresh lime supported rather than supressed the Suaza. The finish was dry and crisply sour. Steve Earle AND Rufus Wainwright on the jukebox.

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