recipes & how tos | sep. 8, 2021

GET TO KNOW THE 2021 U.S. Patrón Perfectionists FINALISTS — Part 2

As the national Patrón Perfectionists finals edge ever-closer, we wanted to take a moment to learn a little bit more about the top ten finalists competing for their spot in the global finals. For some, this is their first time participating in Patrón Perfectionists, while others are gunning for the top spot once more. In this special feature we’ll learn what it took to get this far, where inspiration lies, and delve into the hopeful sense of competition the entrants carry with them as all eyes turn to Mexico.

Alex Taylor // Caldera

Get to Know 2021 Finalist Alex Taylor:


Have you competed in Patrón Perfectionists before? If so, what was that experience like?
While I have submitted entries for Patrón Perfectionists in the past, this is my first time reaching the Top 30 and then the Top 10 as an alternate.

What drew you to this competition?

I was drawn to Patrón Perfectionists for Patrón’s commitment to perfection. This includes Patrón’s dedication to their local community by supporting their staff and family as well as championing the preservation of their local environment. Their commitment to their tequila producing process is also highly commendable when considering the use of modern and age-old techniques. Perfectionists is also a competition that draws worldwide talent with whimsical, creative and inspirational cocktails as a reflection into each participant’s local space as a means of sharing perspective and fostering greater international understanding.

How are you thinking of hospitality in a digital space?

We exist in a dynamic and changing world whereby the potential to span the globe in a matter of moments is only a device away. Executing hospitality successfully in this medium is truly important considering the potential to reach a global audience. The digital space provides a keen opportunity to share local perspectives while examining their role in the context of the larger human community. The occasion to celebrate the wealth of diversity should exist as the prime directive within this medium. The transition from the physical world, inherently localized, to a globe-spanning virtuality represents the opportunity for a paradigm shift whereby hospitality effectively functions as a catalyst for safe-spaces allowing knowledge and experience to become paramount features.

What will it mean for you to go to Mexico for the Global Finals?

The chance to travel to Mexico as a finalist for Patrón Perfectionists would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. While I have previously travelled to Patrón’s Hacienda through the USBG immersive educational experience, it would represent a pinnacle in my hospitality career, particularly with the opportunity to represent the United States in this highly-respected international cocktail competition. Furthermore, it would reaffirm recent life-altering decisions. During the onset of Covid-19, after opening a new establishment, I realized the importance of time, mental-health and well-being for myself and my loved ones. Making the decision to depart from the Washington DC metropolitan area to the beach towns of lower Delaware and Maryland provided a necessary shift for my perspective. I promised myself that I would continue to challenge myself creatively by allowing time to explore the richness of cocktail creation on my own terms with a long-term goal of bringing craft-cocktails to an area where they are far from ubiquitous.

Where did the name of your cocktail come from?

Caldera is named after the result of a massive volcanic eruption whereby the mouth of the volcano collapses resulting in crater. It ties in with the early Meso-American diety Huehuetotl who was the God of Fire and Volcanos.

What was the inspiration for your cocktail?

Caldera is a tribute to the nature of age and wisdom that draws parallels between a caldera (a large volcanic crater) and the wise and venerable Mesoamerican deity Huehueteotl, God of Fire and Volcanos who provided humanity with the fire of life. The cocktail explores ingredients that flourish from volcanic soil and balance well with the spirit aging necessary to make an anejo tequila. Age and wisdom are key components to achieving perfection.

What does perfection mean to you?

Perfection is an ongoing and shape-shifting process. Nature is constantly evolving; therefore, the nature of perfection must also adapt its iteration. Through the recognition of inherent transformation, achieving perfection is a self-reflective activity that aligns with one’s own diversification. In essence, the continued engagement with perfection is a means to the same end. As long as one maintains the strive for perfection, the concept then becomes tangible and very real.




CALDERARECIPE


1.5 Oz. Patrón Anejo
.5 Oz. Cynar 70
.5 Oz. Lustau Amontillado Sherry
.5 Oz Giffard White Creme de Cacao
.75 Oz. Strawberry Syrup
.75 Oz. Lemon Juice
1 Barspoon (1/2 teaspoon) Ground Black Pepper
Pink/​Black Salt for Garnish On Rim Of Glass




METHOD


Coat a small culinary brush with lemon juice and lightly swipe a portion of the rocks glass. Over this area, liberally sprinkle the salt to the moistened area to create a cascade like effect. Remove any salt that may have entered inside the rocks glass.

Add ice sphere to the rocks glass.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a shaker tin and add ice.

Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.

Double/​Fine strain cocktail into glass making sure not to spill any on to salt to lessen the cascade effect.

Serve and enjoy.

Lance Bowman // Tierras Y Manos

Get to Know 2021 Finalist Lance Bowman:


Have you competed in Patrón Perfectionists before? If so what was that experience like?
I’ve been lucky enough to have previously competed twice, once in New York at the 2019 National Finals, as well as being on of the US global finalists in 2018. Perfectionists is a perfect completion. It’s one of my absolute favorites out of the dozens of competitions I’ve been part of over the years. From the hospitality of all the people who put it together to execution it’s done at a mind boggling level of detail. The memories and friendships forged from perfectionists are just as strong now as they were at the beginning and I will always hold them dear.


What drew you to this competition?

I was first drawn to enter perfectionists by its focus on unbridled creativity, and a healthy love of all things agave, but I continue to enter it because of the experiences that have come from being part of it.


How are you thinking of hospitality in a digital space?

Hospitality in a digital space is hard, as hospitality professionals we all have our unique hospitality experiences we’ve historically provided, but may not be able to do in the same way virtually. For me it’s about trying to convey a compelling story. Narratives that draw people in are a great way to bridge the digital divide.


What will it mean to you to go to Mexico for the finals?

Going back to Mexico for global finals would be huge for me. Perfectionists was my first global competition and never before had I seen things on such a high level, and with bartenders working at such a high level. Going back and being able to showcase the craft and skills I’ve been honing and polishing over the past years would give me the chance to put on a performance I think is truly at home behind the fabled copper bar at the hacienda.


Where did the name of your cocktail come from?

Tierras y Manos is named for the earth and hands that make patron unmistakably patron, as well as how those same elements play a huge part in cocktail creation for me.


What was the inspiration for your cocktail?

The inspiration for Tierras y Manos comes from my desire to create a cocktail that showcases some oft overlooked elements, terroir, and the people and unique places that crafted the ingredients that compose the cocktail. Too often we’re creating cocktails just for the cocktails sake, for Tierras y Manos it’s meant to be a journey that celebrates each ingredient and those hands and places of which they came from.


What does perfection mean to you?

Perfection, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What one person considers to be perfect another may consider inherently flawed, exposing the truth that perfection can indeed be quite subjective. It’s far to easy to get caught up in trying to create something that everyone will see as being as close to perfect as possible when the most important set of eyes that should see your creation as (close to) perfection as possible.





TIERRASMANOSRECIPE

1.75 oz Patrón Anejo
.5 oz Ruby Port (I used Fonseca Bin 27)
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz 2:1 Demerara Syrup
.5 oz Earl Grey Tea (brewed with 5 standard tea bags in 10 ounces of hot water for 5 minutes)
.75 oz Egg White
2 sprays Gentian Liqueur (I used Suze)
Grapefruit Peel (Expressed and twisted into an grapefruit rose”)




METHOD


Before you get started you’ll want to brew some earl grey tea. Brew a cup for yourself to drink, then make the tea for the cocktail by steeping 5 tea bags of earl grey in 10 ounces of water for 5 minutes. Let it cool (you can put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process) before using it in the cocktail!

Combine all your liquid ingredients except the gentian liqueur in a cocktail shaker (it helps to separate your egg white from the yolk beforehand) and add one large ice cube and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. If you don’t have large ice cubes, don’t worry! Just shake without ice for 15 seconds, add ice and shake again for 10 seconds) to build a luxurious and velvety meringue, and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Don’t be timid with your shake, you want to really shake it to get the best result!

Peel a long (~12 inch) swath of grapefruit peel with a vegetable peeler starting from the top of the grapefruit, squeeze one end between your fingers to express the fragrant grapefruit oils over the cocktail, then roll the peel around itself working outward to create a rose” from the peel, skewer, and place on the rim of the glass.

Finish with 2 sprays of Suze mist for additional aromatics and a touch of bright bitterness. if you don’t have an atomizer, again don’t worry! You can use a dasher or eye dropper to get those beautiful aromatics, or even drip it from a spoon onto the foam.

Arthur Boothe // Happy Little Trees

Get to Know 2021 Finalist Arthur Boothe:


Have you competed in Patrón Perfectionists before? If so, what was that experience like?

No, This is my first experience with Patrón Perfectionists, but my good friend Pete Hannah spoke so highly of his experience with it that I wanted to give it a shot. I also really loved the idea of getting to visit the Hacienda again.


What drew you to this competition?


In a nutshell, my philosophy about cocktail competitions is that I enjoy the ability to showcase my pursued knowledge and experience along with my ability in our craft, and to do it by pairing that with companies whose ethos and practices I appreciate and align with. I really respect what Patrón has done in their sustainability efforts, their efforts to support local highlands Agave farmers, and obviously the juice is good, too.



How are you thinking of hospitality in a digital space?


Hospitality in a digital space is rough because so much of our job really depends on face to face time with our guests; being able to read their emotions, or their energy has always been a big part of understanding the experience we are going to share. Now we are obviously facing new challenges and they are forcing us to reevaluate the idea of hospitality and the future of our industry, and I think we can already see that in the ready availability of online cocktail classes from reliable industry sources, blogs, and even cocktail courier type programs for home bartenders. Finding new ways to interface with our guests and share experiences safely is more important now than ever.


What will it mean for you to go to Mexico for the Global Finals?


Obviously going to Mexico and competing against the global finalists would be massive. These opportunities and experiences are one of the highlights of our industry, and something I think isn’t taken advantage of enough by other bartenders. To be on the same pedestal as some of these other beautiful drinks I’ve seen from the competitors would be thrilling enough, but to experience it in a place as beautiful as the Hacienda would be epic. It’s exciting to have made it this far, but to be fortunate enough to experience it on the global stage would be incredible.


Where did the name of your cocktail come from?


Happy Little Trees was inspired by something Bob Ross said on the episode of the Joy of Painting that I was watching when I was working on my cocktail recipe. It is seldom that my home is quiet or empty since I have three kids and a super-hero wife, but when it is and I am working on recipes or doing research for new menus or cocktail classes I like to put on Bob Ross in the background as noise. Its soothing, and nostalgic — but also overwhelmingly positive, which is nice to hear in the background when you’re working hard on something.m


What was the inspiration for your cocktail?


The flavors for my cocktail are all built around the base of Patrón silver, and highlighting the bright and refreshing nature of the weber blue agave. A lot of my inspiration for those flavors I chose to compliment the Patrón come from things I loved growing up in Florida; bitter orange, bright citrus, mango, strawberry, hibiscus, and clearly salt. I have vibrant memories for each of these flavors that immediately jump out when I think about them, but mostly they remind me of fun times at the springs swimming as a kid, snacking on fresh fruit, or snagging citrus off the trees of an untended grove. I wanted this drink to represent that sort of refreshing nature with the positive feelings I get from watching other people create beautiful things. I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out.


What does perfection mean to you?


Perfection is an ever-moving benchmark that we aren’t meant to see the completion of, but that doesn’t matter anyways because the journey is so much more thrilling. To me perfection is not only about the unyielding pursuit of continued evolution and development in something, but also the willingness to understand that those ideals are different for each individual. Perfection is that constant feeling that what you’ve done or are doing isn’t as good as it should be or could be- which is undoubtedly how every other competitor felt when we submitted our presentation videos (myself included).



HAPPY LITTLE TREES” RECIPE

1.5 oz Patrón Silver Tequila
.5 oz Martini Fiero Vermouth
.25 oz mango juice
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz Rich Hibiscus syrup
.25 oz strawberry puree
3 drops saline
2 smoking rosemary sprigs




METHOD


Measure all ingredients (minus the rosemary) carefully into mixing tin, from cheapest ingredient to most expensive.

Fill shaker with pebble ice and give the contents a short and quick whip shake to fully integrate all the ingredients without over-diluting it.

Open pour contents of shaker into poco grande glass and top with fresh ice.

Place two vibrant springs of rosemary in the glass as a garnish, and quickly toast them with a torch until they are softly smoking.

Serve with a smile.

Make sure you tag along for the rest of the Perfectionists’ journey by following us on Instagram @academia_patron and cheering on these talented bartenders during the live viewing of the National Finals in October. Exact time to come, so stay tuned!