Hotel Congress held the first Agave Fest in 2009. Now in its seventh year, Agave Fest has expanded from a Tucson-focused event to an international collaboration and celebration of all things agave.
The Hotel Congress partnered with Vamos a Tucson and the Mexican Consulate to curate this year’s event, beginning with the pre-festival Agave 101 seminar at 5:00pm on May 2. Seminars and tastings led by mezcal expert Sergio Inurrigaro, a fundraising agave dinner for Native Seeds/SEARCH by Janos Wilder of Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails, tequilas by musician Roger Clyne and actor George Clooney, and the opportunity to taste mezcal normally unattainable in the United States are among the anticipated highlights.
Tickets are $35 in advance and include ten tasting tickets for a selection of over fifty agave-based spirits, a commemorative shot glass and cascarone, access to Cup Café’s specialty taco and salsa bar, live entertainment by Vox Urbana, samples from artisanal chocolatier Anayency Gomez, and a Yelp-hosted ballot for Best Cocktail. Hotel Congress is offering special hotel room packages that include two tickets to the event, a hangover recovery kit, and Agave Fest memorabilia. Attendees will also have access to the Hotel Congress’ Art in the Lobby exhibit, which features historical photographs depicting the agave culture of Mexico.
The cocktails competing for attendees’ affection in Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Cocktail Competition will be as follows: the “AZ Red Sonoran Sour” by David Clark of Cup Café; the “Tortilla” by Keith Caywood of Club Congress; and the “Maynards’ Sunrise” by Eddie Pain of Maynards Kitchen. The taco and salsa bar will be available for attendees to enjoy in between cocktails, where tequila marinated carne asada and port al pastor with pineapple tacos will be accompanied by Cup Café’s award-winning Sweet Smoked Tomatillo and Serrano Chili Salsa, among others.
Attendees will also gain access to the Agave 101 seminar, which has 40 spots available for ticket holders on a first come, first serve basis. Led by Sergio Innuriago and Sommelier David Torkko, it will cover a variety of topics including Tequila Basics, What is Agave, Cooking Methods, and Aging, and feature mezcal, sotol, bacanora, and Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine tequila, along with a mezcal-infused chocolate by Ritual Chocolate.
The presence of Inurrigaro is one notable result of the international collaboration at this year’s Agave Fest. President and Founder of the Pro Mezcal Culture Association, as well as Director of the Master Mezcalier Program, Inurrigaro has led more than 1,750 Mezcal tastings in over sixty-one cities across the world, including in China, Russia, Europe, United States, Canada, South America, and Mexico, and will be hosting tastings throughout the evening.
Two other well-known names contributing this year are Janos Wilder and Nartive Seeds/SEARCH. Hotel Congress is working in conjunction with Wilder, the the award winning chef and owner of Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, to host the Agave Dinner at 7:00pm on Friday, May 1 in the Drawing Room at Maynards Market & Kitchen. There are only 32 seats available for the exclusive fundraising dinner and tickets are $95 each. Proceeds benefit Native Seeds/SEARCH, whose mission is to preserve the traditional agricultural community. Sergio Inurrigaro will also be present before the dinner for a meet and greet at 6:30 p.m. To see the flyer for the fundraiser, including the menu, click here.
Event organizers anticipate that with this year’s additional programing, tickets are guaranteed to sell out, and recommend purchasing tickets early while supplies last. For more information, to purchase tickets to the Agave Dinner or Agave Fest, or to make hotel room reservations please visit www.hotelcongress.com.