Patrón Perfectionists: meet the national winners
The first four national winners in this year’s Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition have been announced. We meet them, and their cocktails.
Patrón has been a crucial component in Tequila’s growth. The brand’s quality credentials and mixability have made it a favourite among bartenders – as demonstrated by the passion and advocacy of those who have entered the Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition over the years.
Australia and Russia were among the top five Tequila importing countries in the Asia and Oceania regions in 2020, according to the Tequila Regulatory Council. Together with Japan, China and Turkey, the five nations imported 4.8 million litres last year.
The digital format of the 2021/22 Patrón Perfectionists contest, combined with consumer engagement through the public vote on each country’s top 30 finalists, has allowed bartenders to embrace the challenge to create new, innovative concepts and creations. Due to the exceptional circumstances of the past 18 months, at-home cocktail culture is booming – and Patrón has reflected this trend in this year’s contest.
The national finals have been taking place in recent weeks, as the world’s best bartenders go head to head for the chance to represent their country in the global final at Hacienda Patrón in Mexico next year. Over the next few months, we will be putting the spotlight on the global finalists, starting with four champions from the Philippines, Australia, UAE and Russia.
Patrón is attracting widespread attention in the Philippines, with applications to take part in the Perfectionists competition up by 66% year on year. It’s an important step – particularly because Asia Pacific is forecast to witness the fastest growth rate for Tequila between 2021 and 2028, according to the Global Tequila Market 2021‐2028 report by Researchandmarket.com.
Taking the title in the Philippines leg of the competition was Lawrence Christopher Gabriel, head bartender at Baccarat Room & Bar in Manila. Gabriel impressed the judges with his creation – The Galleon. The drink was inspired by the Spanish trading ships that used to link the Manila‐Acapulco route between the 16th and early 19th centuries.
The Galleon combines Sherry, as a tribute to Spain, vinegar, which was used to preserve food, coconut syrup to symbolise the Philippines, and Patrón Silver Tequila.
Gabriel used a spiced tea rub (matcha, salt and pepper) to coat the rim of the glass, in reference to the spices traded across the Pacific, and a basil leaf to garnish.
In Australia, Patrón is the number one super-premium Tequila – plus, the category is the fastest‐growing spirit segment in the country.
Australian consumers are showing a keen interest in recreating classic, bar‐quality cocktails at home, such as the Margarita.
Driven further by premiumisation during the pandemic, Patr.n has noticed a higher number of consumers trading up to premium ingredients.
In a tough national final, Harrison Kenney, creative lead at Cantina OK! in Sydney, soared to victory with his cocktail, Teal. The drink was designed to celebrate Tequila and Mexico, blending Patr.n Silver, fino Sherry, simple syrup, freshly pressed lime juice, freshly juiced celery, fresh kiwi, vanilla pods and extra virgin olive oil. Kenney delivered green top notes of Patrón Silver, complemented by the final drops of vanilla olive oil, which were said to add ‘the most delightful mouthfeel’.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is another important region for Patrón, with consumers showing a penchant for ultra‐premium and aged Tequilas. The brand’s educational work in the region – such as the Patrón Academia and Tequila Regulatory Council Trainings for bartenders – has generated much excitement for the category.
Despite strict prohibitions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in Saudi Arabia, Patrón said demand for spirits is growing steadily in the country, where it is available via Selfridges Retail, an e‐commerce store.
Big cities, such as Dubai, are also embracing the Tequila category, led by demand in premium cocktail bars. Entries into the Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition have also jumped in the UAE – and the country received the highest number of consumer votes, signalling increased cocktail interest among consumers.
Zviad Khuntsaria proved his worth in the national UAE final, and will represent UAE in the global final next year. The senior bartender at Roka moved from Georgia to Dubai five years ago to work as a bartender.
His winning cocktail, Rising San, took the natural sweetness of Patr.n Silver and paired it with Japanese sake infused with fennel.
A touch of orange liqueur and orange syrup enhanced the citrus notes of the Tequila and a splash of tonic water resulted in a fresh, long and replicable beverage.
Alisa Muraviova, bartender at Shortlist Books and Spirits bar in Moscow, rose to victory in the Russia round. As one of the top five Tequila‐importing countries in the Asia and Oceania region, Russia is an important market for Patrón.
Agave‐based spirits have increased their visibility in Russian bars and restaurants, contributing to the boom in Mexican exports to the country.
Muraviova embraced the Perfectionists challenge and delighted judges with her creation, called Evocative Cocktail. The drink was created to celebrate the stories of people forming communities, caring for each other, their craftmanship and their produce – and to be replicated at home for a get‐together with loved ones.
Muraviova mixed Patrón Silver with lacto-fermented grapefruit‐and‐watermelon juice, sweet chilli sauce, sparkling water, lemon juice, and an olive for garnish.
Stay tuned as we highlight four more Patrón Perfectionists national winners to discover more about this year’s global finalists.