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Mor Koral triumphs in Patrón Perfectionists final

Bartender Mor Koral soared to victory to claim pole position in the Patrón Perfectionists 2023 cocktail competition.

Mor Koral is the 2023 champion

Koral is the founder of Salt & Spirit in Tel Aviv, Israel. She faced stiff competition from 15 other finalists during the global final of the contest, which took place at Hacienda Patrón in Mexico from 24-30 March.

“For me, the Patrón Perfectionists has been a journey that started in 2017 when I first took part in the programme in Tel Aviv,” Koral commented.

“Since then, I’ve been dreaming of making it to the global final at Hacienda Patrón in Mexico. I am so incredibly excited to have been able to join this amazing group of people and celebrate my culture, rituals and ingredients alongside Patrón Tequila in its very home.”

Koral, along with the other finalists, faced a trio of challenges during the global final. First, Field to Flavour, which challenged the contestants to think on their feet. The bartenders were presented with a Mexican market stall featuring local ingredients selected by chef Ana Martorell, and given 45 minutes to create a cordial using one of the items.

This was to be used in the second challenge, The Stories We Share, which asked the finalists to develop a Patrón cocktail recipe and story inspired by Mexican culture.

The final round – Mi Mesa es tu Mesa – saw bartenders create a hospitality experience for the judges, which had to include serving a neat Patrón Tequila paired with a non-alcoholic side cocktail.

Each challenge saw a winner crowned. Taking the top stop in the first challenge was Choni Song, the ‘wild card’ winner from China; Alex Boon from Australia won the second heat; while Max Macaulay from the UK won the third heat.

Koral triumphed overall after receiving consistently higher scores across all three challenges, which impressed the judges.

Koral during the Mi Mesa Es Tu Mesa challenge

The judging panel included: Ivy Mix, co-owner of Leyenda bar and the Fiasco! Wine and spirits shop, and co-founded Speed Rack; LP O’Brien is winner of Netflix’s Drink Masters; Sandrae Lawrence, founder and editor of award-winning The Cocktail Lovers; Tara Fougner, co-founder and CEO of Thirsty Media; Giulia Cuccurullo, 2020 Patrón Perfectionists global winner and head bartender of Artesian in London; Harrison Kenney, 2022 Patrón Perfectionists global winner and general manager of Bar Planet in Sydney; Ana Martorell, educator, chef and founder of the Aida and Oxa Cocina Única restaurants; and Haba Flores, beverage consultant and Tequila aficionado with bartending experience in Guadalajara venues such as El Gallo Cantinero, Salon Candela and Matilde Mi Amor.

Lauren Mote, global director of on-trade excellence for Patrón Tequila, commented: “What we have experienced over the Patrón Perfectionists global final event is testament to the growing excellence of the bar industry. The passion and knowledge these individuals keep on bringing to and sharing with our Patrón familia make us so proud and grateful to be running this programme.

“To know that the connections we have made this week are going to inspire the bartenders and generate new opportunities for them is an overwhelming joy. This is the spirit of the Patrón Perfectionists programme and Mor with her wonderful fellow finalists are worthy representatives of it.

“We cannot wait to see Mor and the global finalists continue to deliver great projects with Patrón over the next year. Congratulations on an incredible showing this week Mor.”

Koral’s winning serves included a home-made cordial of guava, honey, rice syrup, lime juice, Sherry, cinnamon and ginger in the Field to Flavour challenge, which was used to make a guava-horchata-based Patrón Reposado Highball.

In The Stories We share challenge, Koral’s cocktail – El Mundo Magico – was inspired by late surrealist and Mexico-resident artist Leonora Carrington. It included Patrón Reposado, atole de elote, Mexican falernum and lime.

In the Mi Mesa Es Tu Mesa challenge, Koral created a mazet-style dinner. Rotating around the table to the rhythm of the music, the judges took part in setting up a food feast featuring typical Israeli ingredients cooked by Koral. She served a neat pour of Patrón Silver alongside her alcohol-free Frankincense & More cocktail, featuring clarified ‘labneh’ cheese water, holy honey syrup, lemon juice and water.

Winning serve: Koral’s El Mundo Magico creation

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