The Making of One Big-Ass Margarita at Flamingo Vegas
It was the largest margarita in the history of planet Earth, and the record-breaking “Lucky Rita” made her debut at Flamingo Las Vegas, outside Margaritaville and the new Margaritaville Casino on Oct. 14, 2011.
Singer Jimmy Buffet (below) was on hand to toast the landmark occasion to the delight of hundreds of fans, many of whom may even recall participating in the event, if you know what we’re saying. (It was a really big margarita.)
Thanks to our bud, Dave Proctor, for the Jimmy Buffett pic. We can’t be everywhere at once, you know. We actually risked life and limb to bring you some parrot’s-eye-view photos and video of the record-smashing festivities outside Flamingo Las Vegas and O’Sheas.
The new record for largest margarita ever made was verified by the folks from Guinness World Records. We even got this exclusive photo of the certificate thingy just to prove it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, while entertained no-end by the giant margarita and festivities marking the official opening of the Margaritaville Casino at Flamingo, this blog was even more intrigued by the epic undertaking that made the big day possible.
We had to find out more about the process of making a two-story, 8,500 gallon margarita, so we went behind the scenes during the build-up to the World Record. What we found was eye-opening! It took six months of planning, and about 300 person hours (like “man hours,” but less 1935) to get Lucky Rita into shape for her Las Vegas debut.
Here’s a exclusive peek at how Rita got her record on.
What we’d envisioned turned out to be just plain wrong. The process of making the giant drink was a manual, hands-on process that involved dozens of people. After all, Lucky Rita consisted of 2,125 gallons of Margaritaville Gold Tequila, 708 gallons of Triple Sec, 5,667 gallons of Margaritaville Margarita Mix and Lemon-X sour mix, not to mention 22,667 lime wedges. Each ingredient had to be lifted, pallet by pallet, by crane onto the roof of the Flamingo and manually poured into the giant, custom-built tank via a large tube.
Of course, the margarita in question isn’t just for show. It’s meant to be consumed, and had we not been working at the time, we would have tried the margarita and insisted it was one of the most delicious we’ve ever had. You know, hypothetically.
So, how does one mix and cool a two-story margarita? We’re all over it! We tracked down one of the masterminds involved in making the world’s largest margarita more than just a publicity stunt.
John Silvey of Lemon-X is a 10-year vet of Lemon-X, a juice and cocktail mix company (they provide the sour mix for Margaritaville restaurants and also juice for the Caesars Entertainment resorts), and he’s been in the food and beverage biz for close to 30 years.
Silvey says, “The mix in Lucky Rita is being cooled using a 60-ton water-cooled chiller powered by a 480 volt, three phase, 200 amp diesel generator. The margarita is pumped through a specially-designed heat exchanger that can cool the liquid to 45 degrees if needed but will be held at about 60 degrees for optimum quality and safety. The mix is pumped with a food-grade double-baffle air pump that has capabilities of moving the liquis at 178 gallon per minute which circulates the product to keep it mixed.”
This blog just had what could be described as a “metaphorical brain freeze.” In a good way.
Bonus Lucky Rita trivia: At its fullest, Lucky Rita weighed 70,000 pounds. She broke the previous record by 873 gallons.
Margaritas from Lucky Rita will be served through Oct. 23, 2011. The small runs $8 and the bathtub-sized model runs $32, with a solid portion of the purchases going to charity.
Still haven’t had your fill of the world’s largest margarita? Skinny dip in our exclusive photo gallery, an unholy mix of photos from the Lucky Rita preparation to the celebratory street party with Jimmy Buffett and friends, several of whom wore grass skirts. Hypothetically.
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