JONNY WALKER'S "LAST CALL" — Sip it, don't slam it


Busy at work at the Adventure Center tuning bikes last Friday, my mouth started to water. 
All I could think about was an ice cold, salt-rimmed, tequila-based refreshment—otherwise known as a margarita—waiting for me at Mammoth’s first Margarita Festival.
The day was hot and the customers were endless, asking me for bike rentals and hounding me with questions. It’s usually busy, but last weekend was particularly packed at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. 
Regardless of what I was doing, all I could think about is relaxing to the sounds of Latin music as I sipped on an ice-cold margarita.
As soon as my shift ended, I clocked out, ripped off my nametag and rode my bike straight down Minaret to the Village. 
I joined the gathering of tequila lovers, enjoying the smooth sounds of Vincent & Vedant.
Browsing through the margarita booths, I found mango, peach, strawberry, and even jalapeno-flavored margaritas. 
So many choices! What to choose? Traditional or blended? Fruit flavored or jalapeno? Should I just get one of each?
I fancy myself a traditionalist so I ordered a Mammoth Margarita on the rocks, with salt.
Seemed like I wasn’t the only traditionalist as dozens were created by the minute.
The sounds of blender hard at work just added to the atmosphere. People gathered near the outdoor bar waiting in one of the many lines, but the lines moved quickly.
The mellow Latin sounds continued well into the night, and nobody left early. 
The two guitar players mirrored one another since one played right handed and the other left handed. When the performers busted out a violin to accompany the sounds, my mind drifted to another place (the tequila was partially responsible here, too). 
I closed my eyes and felt as if I was sitting on a beach in the south of Mexico. 
Saturday was the big tequila tasting day. Fifteen different tequila distilleries came to Mammoth to educate tequila fans about the drink, the process in which it was made, and what made each tequila unique.
The glasses that came with a ticket purchased emphasized sipping the tequila, and not slamming it.
I started out with sipping and listening to the experts, but as the day went on, it was harder to sip and easier to slam. Most of the tequilas were smooth, although I don’t know about that coconut flavored one. …
More amazing music played through the afternoon into the night.  The authentic sounds of Cale’, Ruckatan Latin Tribes and Caravanserai made it easy for people’s feet to take over and start dancing (or maybe that was the tequila?) 
A friend of mine bumped into me in the vibrating crowd, looked straight through me and said, “I am completely shmammered!” then stumbled away dancing with the beat. 
That’s when you know the festival was a success.
Up next
This weekend is Mammoth Festival. It started Thursday with a Winemaker Dinner at 9,600 feet at Parallax Restaurant. Friday will feature a wine walk through the Village. The event continues Saturday with a full day of wine tasting, food, art exhibits, and musical performances at Sam’s Wood Site. Sunday features a champagne brunch at Hyde Lounge in the Village with live music. The festival is featuring the well-known melodies of Kenny Loggins, Donavon Frankenreiter, Zoux, Jonathan Kingham and more. 
Don’t miss this one; it’s your chance to mingle with a very fun and sophisticated group. Tickets are still available at See you there. Ciao…
Jonny Walker—and that’s his real, birth name—makes a living by teaching snowboarding, repairing mountain bikes, and guiding groups of adventure seekers down white water rapids. He’s also the creator/founder of Snarvz (a facemask used for winter sports), a passionate fine artist, and has a tan and black dog named Guinness. When he’s not working, he treats his taste buds to the sweet variety of delicacies found throughout the Eastern Sierra’s many festivals, bars, and happy hours. He may be contacted at or you can find his number in the bathroom stall of your local pub. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the Mammoth Times.