September 30th is around the corner. You’ve heard us. This is the deadline to enter Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Perfectionists sponsored by PATRÓN. This year there’s even more to be excited about and Thirsty magazine has been following along the way since July to discover all that’s in store for bartenders around the world: from global events and new Academia PATRÓN educational modules hosted by previous PATRÓN Perfectionists champions from around the world and industry leaders throughout the year, to mentorship sessions with the likes of Julio Cabrera, Gina Barbachano, Matt Whiley, Christina Veira, Deano Moncrieffe and Kate Boushel, and the very competition with a new brief.
The team at Thirsty has been catching up with the insiders, aka the PATRÓN Brand Ambassadors in the USA. Sharing some top tips and answering the most frequently asked questions, here is the guidance and encouragement you need to finalize and submit your entry next week!
PHOTO: The PATRÓN Perfectionists kick-off event at Tales of the Cocktail 2023
Let’s start with a reminder of the basics. This year, in the USA the program is sponsored by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and bartenders are asked to get creative and submit a PATRÓN Margarita worthy of their favorite city. The drink must contain PATRÓN Silver Tequila and ingredients inspired by their city of choice. There is no restriction to the amount of ingredients that can be used but remember that the DNA of the Margarita needs to be respected and the PATRÓN Silver Tequila has to be the hero. So, think about how you can enhance the notes of this beautiful blanco Tequila, 100% natural, crafted from Weber Blue Agave, water and yeast.
Now that we have the basics covered, over to the PATRÓN Brand Ambassadors for tips and useful technical recommendations!
‘CREATIVITY WITH A RATIONALE: THINK THE NEXT NEW CLASSIC’ – Veronica Chaparro, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, New York
“When you build a competition cocktail, it’s important to approach it with a ‘next new classic’ mentality. What does that mean? Classic cocktails are known for being simply delicious. Think three, or four ingredients that are delicious when combined but also easy to replicate in large quantities as if you were on a Friday night service. This year there really isn’t a limit to the number of ingredients you can use for your Margarita entry in the USA, it’s important to consider that the real challenge will be to reinvent a PATRÓN Silver Margarita in a way that stands tall but stays within the classic cocktail’s core anatomy.”
‘STIR AWAY FROM ALTERING THE PATRÓN’ – Roberto Nuñez Moreno, PATRÓN National Agave Master, USA
“A very common question is: ‘Can I infusion PATRÓN Silver Tequila with X ingredient? Or the tequila should be untouched?’. While infusing the Tequila is not prohibited, we highly recommend avoiding any infusion or other alteration of the hero ingredient. We suggest respecting the protagonist and its perfect liquid. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate the desired flavor into your drink, and plenty of freedom with other ingredients you can use to support PATRÓN Silver. The risk of hiding or altering the main flavor is high and not worth it. The same applies to the story behind the cocktail; make sure PATRÓN is at the heart of it with your personal inspiration. ”
‘CHOOSE HOME-MADE PREPS OVER MODIFIERS’ – Carissa Kaufman, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, Los Angeles
“Many bartenders have asked me about the use of modifiers and other products in their cocktails. While it’s permitted to use other products and spirits (to be selected within the Bacardí portfolio), instead I suggest identifying what specific flavor profile they’re looking to achieve with a modifier and/or other spirit and then making the homemade equivalent of that product. For example, if someone were interested in using an Amaro, I suggest identifying which botanicals are most present in the brand of choice and making your own tincture, syrup, etc. This will help you showcase your creativity and skills!”
‘THE FIRST ROUND IS JUDGED ON PAPER, SO BE CLEAR!’ – Andrew Grenz, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, Austin
“It may sound obvious, but I’d like to remind competitors that the first round is judged on paper. With that in mind, they should consider factors such as how clear the recipe for the homemade ingredient is and triple-check spelling and grammar. This also includes the story connecting the recipe to their favorite city. Showcase that connection and sell the judges why your PATRÓN Margarita is the ideal cocktail to represent them and their favorite city. From a judge’s perspective, stories are powerful for the heart, and providing clear, easy-to-follow recipes are important for the mind.”
‘ASK YOURSELF: WHY?’ – Nina Singer, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, Miami
“Some bartenders ask ‘where do I start’ or ‘how do I know it is a good cocktail’ and I frequently say there needs to be a story behind it all and there needs to be a ‘why’. We just had the team of Silver Lyan out to help lead a seminar focusing on storytelling through cocktails. Firstly, what is the story or reasoning of your cocktail and what do you want to represent? Then, how and why do you get there? Think of things like ‘Here’s my story, how do I get those flavors?’, ‘why am I using all these?’. Be descriptive in not only that story but also in how you made it step by step. Everything needs to have a solid rationale as initially judged on paper, so do not skimp on the creative process that led you where you are.”
‘TAKE THE RISK, PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE’ – Roland Price, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, Nashville
“One main thing that every bartender should know is that the PATRÓN Perfectionists is for all of them. Sometimes there’s a feeling of hesitation or fear that they aren’t ready or on that level. I think this is the opportunity to challenge and bring out that creative energy that lives in every bartender. Don’t be afraid to take some risks and be unique. At the end of the day, this is your chance to learn and have fun with it. Try those ideas you’ve had lingering around, or that technique you’ve always wanted to use. You’ll never lose when you keep the mindset that you only have everything to gain. Just do it, you’ll be happy you did!”
‘MAXIMIZE YOUR HOMEMADE INGREDIENTS BY COMPOUNDING’ – TJ Vong, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, DENVER
“Maximize your homemade ingredients by compounding so you can reduce the number of ingredients in your recipe. This will be read better on paper by the judges and it will speed up your production time if you make it to live rounds in regional heats. Try to use the base brand as much as possible in submissions, the more you use it the more you stand out. For example, since you’re required to use PATRÓN Silver in your Margarita entry in the USA as your base spirit, if you’re making a homemade cordial fortify it with PATRÓN this will help enhance the flavor of your cocktail. Always remember to keep it balanced though!”.
‘COHERENCE AND PURPOSE IN EVERY ELEMENT OF YOUR COCKTAIL’ – Samuel Willy, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, New York
“Do everything with a purpose, make it make sense. Your cocktail, glassware, and garnish, they should all tie together and tell the same story. Sometimes with competition less is more. We don’t need to see all your techniques, ingredients, and knowledge in one cocktail. Make something good that tells a great story and appeals to people. The worst thing you can do in cocktail competitions is not to apply. You have nothing to lose but it might take you on an incredible journey.”
‘DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE YOURSELF‘- Billy Killin, PATRÓN Brand Ambassador, Los Angeles
“Many bartenders worry about expressing their personality and style, thinking they won’t fit a sort of pre-set standard. We are looking for you to be your authentic self and to show your personality through your cocktail and presentation. Find the similarities between our PATRÓN story and yours to bridge that gap. Find inspiration in what WE do, and weave that into your shine. Know the brand and the liquid, believe in yourself, and let the sparks fly. Make sure you educate yourself on what the brand is all about and don’t lose sight of those values, but an original perspective is incredibly welcomed and appreciated.”
WAIT NO MORE TO ENTER!
Entries close September 30, 2023.
USA entry portal – HERE
The global PATRÓN Perfectionists competition is available to bartenders based in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK. In all the above countries – differently from the USA where the entry challenge is a PATRÓN Margarita – bartenders need to submit a creative twist on the PATRÓN Paloma inspired by their favorite city, and featuring PATRÓN Reposado Tequila, plain soda water, and a creative cordial flavored as the bartender likes (with no limitations), with grapefruit present in some form.
Global entry portal- HERE
To find out more about PATRÓN Perfectionists 2024, visit Academia PATRÓN website
www.academiapatron.com/patronperfectionists and Instagram @academia_patron
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