We’ve always had a soft spot for the PATRÓN Perfectionists competition. Maybe it’s because we were there from the start, when the competition launched in 2015 with just seven bartenders, before expanding internationally in 2016. Maybe it’s because the team are always tweaking, continually striving to showcase the various elements of the perfectionists ethos. Maybe it’s because of the way it inspires, supports and unites bartenders from all around the globe. More likely it’s a combination of all of the above, plus the fact that we never fail to be impressed by the passion that goes into its creation and the way previous competitors continue to enthuse about being part of it. Put it this way, not for nothing are they known as the PATRÓN Familia.
That said this year, the PATRÓN team have exceeded even our expectations. “We’re moving from a singular bartending contest into a dedicated bartending program,” says Lauren Mote, Global Director of On-Trade Excellence for PATRÓN tequila. True to the title bestowed on her just over five months ago, she’s elevating the contest by introducing a new, exciting and incredibly valuable strand that focuses on education and engagement.
“Education and accessibility for bartenders around the world at any level has always been my primary focus,” Lauren explains. “To that end, we’re introducing Academia PATRÓN Perfectionists, three workshops focusing on trend-leading topics linked to Mexico. There’s never been a dedicated education program like this across any super premium tequila,” she says proudly.
The aim is for bartenders to really immerse themselves in all aspects of the category, while giving them additional tools if they’re looking to enter PATRÓN Perfectionists 2023. “This education is linked to the various challenges that will come up through the program,” Lauren confirms. “So while it’s not mandatory to engage in the modules in order to enter the competition, it will definitely be advantageous to participate,” she says. “All three modules have been designed to help to elevate bartenders in their craft through a range of areas that come together in great guest experiences. It’s definitely something I think that all bartenders will win and benefit from and of course, we have our contest connected to it for those wishing to throw their hat into the ring as well.”
Introducing Academia PATRÓN Perfectionists
“The evolution of the PATRÓN Perfectionists competition brand to a bartending program, with dedicated education, goes hand-in-hand with the rise of the bar scene globally,” Lauren continues. “It’s become evident to all our teams that education should become the central pillar of our program, with investment in its growth and professional development of bartenders everywhere. With this enhanced format and the invaluable support of local teams and Brand Ambassadors, we are going to support them throughout their journey as they strive for their personal vision of ‘perfection’ and of their PATRÓN tequila serves and rituals.”
The three modules:
1. Discovering deliciousness
“This is all about discovering the flavours of Mexico and how they can be interpreted differently by bartenders in different parts of the world. We’re doing this by creating a really cool programme called The Ingredient Encyclopedia which will be populated over several months so that bartenders will eventually have in their hands an encyclopedia of around 150 ingredients that are tailored for PATRÓN Tequila.
It will look and feel like an encyclopedia, with our Academia PATRÓN branding alongside pictograms and sketches, plus other useful tips like how to pronounce the Spanish word for the ingredient as well as which region it comes from, any other name that it goes by, how chefs and bartenders use it and things like that.
We’re also offering a template for bartenders to download so they can build their personal encyclopedia with their own ingredients.”
2. Mastering the elements
“This is about unlocking flavour using a wide range of different tools. Generally, when you go to bars on the World’s 50 Best Bars list they have all the kit – a rotavap, centrifuge, sous vide etc, but equipment like that costs thousands of pounds. How many bars can afford that kind of outlay? But there are ways to get the same results for a fraction of the cost… What we’re doing with this module is taking the same ideas and translating them into different processes to unlock flavour; we’ll be showing bartenders how they can build a bar lab for under $100. It really is very cool.”
“Here we focus on elevating the drinking experience and how bartenders interpret large format service or different styles of serving classic tequila drinks. The aim is to get more of the teams who work in bars really involved rather than just standing behind the bar and serving a drink – it’s to get them thinking: how do we take that same drink and elevate it?
So for instance, instead of a Paloma automatically being served with a salt rim and grapefruit garnish, could that salt and grapefruit garnish be interpreted in a different way? Could we paint a salt solution on the side of the glass for instance, or perhaps it could be something that the guest adds themselves? How about involving the chefs in the kitchen and getting them to devise an interesting side dish or garnish? It’s about taking the classic tequila cocktail and elevating it into a ritual.”
To register for the Academia PATRÓN Perfectionists Education Program, visit academiapatron.com/patronperfectionists
How to enter PATRÓN Perfectionists 2023
Like previous years, the entry requirement tasks bartenders with creating a ‘Hometown Hero’ cocktail inspired by their local culture. How that’s interpreted is up to you, just as long as you use PATRÓN Silver as the star of your glass, alongside supporting acts available from a specially selected list of ingredients available from the Pantry*. Submissions will be judged on appeal, appearance, inspiration and originality.
Each of the participating countries will narrow the submissions down to a shortlist of up to 10 bartenders to compete in the national finals (running throughout November and December). But don’t go expecting the expected, here’s where things get even more interesting as the finalists will engage across a variety of topics and exciting challenges.
Once the scores across all tasks have been added up, the winner from each country will be announced. But there’s more… A special Wild Card entry will be decided by a global judge, meaning that one extra person will get to compete in the grand final at the truly amazing Hacienda PATRÓN in March 2023. How fantastic is that?
Like a week of money-can’t-buy experiences in Mexico isn’t enough, the winner will receive an exquisite trophy hand crafted by esteemed local artist Rodolfo Pailla. And there’s more, as this year’s winner Harrison Kenney will attest – his prize takes in a trip around Europe, as well as Asia Pacific and Middle East to judge the National Finals for various markets. #nottooshabby.
Both entry for the PATRÓN Perfectionists competition and the Academia PATRÓN Perfectionists workshops will be open from 1st September to 7th October. See academiapatron.com/patronperfectionists* for details.
PATRÓN Perfectionists in numbers
…competition entries received in 2021
…number of ingredients to choose from the PATRÓN Pantry
…the number of participating countries in this year’s contest, with additional countries signing up for the global training modules and workshops
…bartenders competing in the national finals at the Hacienda Patrón, Jalisco, Mexico
…global winners to date: (Mike McGinty, 2016; Li Tong, 2017; Yeray Monforte, 2018; Giulia Cuccurullo, 2020; Harrison Kenny, 2022)
…weeks to get your entries in (entry opens 1st September, closes 7th October)
…modules in the new Academia PATRÓN Perfectionists education program
…PATRÓN Perfectionists 2023 winner. And it could be you!