recipes & how tos | dec. 13, 2021

Celebrating Holiday Traditions with Patrón Perfectionists Global Finalists

The holidays are upon us, which means people across the world will be joining friends and family in celebrations of all sorts. To get a glimpse into the special holiday traditions spanning the globe, we reached out to some of our Patrón Perfectionists Global Finalists to learn more about the traditions, flavors and gatherings taking place where they live, and what they look forward to most this time of year.

Read along to explore worldly celebrations, heartwarming moments of youth, and recipes to try at your next gathering. You might find that some of your own favorite holiday experiences are happening elsewhere around the world. 

Yeferson Avila Rodriguez // Colombia

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live. 

There’s a holiday in Colombia called Día de las Velitas (Little Candles Day). On this night, people place candles and paper lanterns everywhere where they can be seen (streets, balconies, porches, sidewalks) in honor of the Virgin Mary. This is how we celebrate the start of the Christmas season.

The decorations are mostly about personal taste but we all have one thing in common: we love Christmas, so we decorate our houses with different types of lights. We put up the Arbolito de Navidad (Christmas tree). Some people have in their house the Nativity scene (pesebre navideño), some of which are so big that they are placed outside in the street where the whole neighborhood helps to build it.


What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

My memorable holiday tradition is the Christmas dinner where the whole family gathers together and celebrates for an entire night.


What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours? 

When it comes to recipes, my favorite ones are turkey and tamales. We have a traditional Christmas cocktail” called Sabajón, the key ingredients are eggs, milk and aguardiente; you can find it in different flavors like coffee, lime, soursop or feijoa.


What are you known for bringing to the holiday party?

I normally bring natilla (a Colombian Christmas custard, recipe linked) and buñuelos (a type of cheese fritter, recipe linked) to the holiday party, and of course, wine to celebrate with my entire family.

Daniel Geobany Rodriguez Flores // Mexico

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live.

Every Christmas where I live, the main square is decorated and have a parade where they gather, including universities and companies. 

People usually decorate their houses with many lights, many add frost — everything becomes very colorful!

What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

I really enjoy Christmas in Lagos de Moreno. The square is usually decorated with giant trees and there are people selling tamales and other traditional foods everywhere. Every Christmas my family and I go to the plaza for some tamales and punch while we talk. I think those are one of the most enjoyable and beautiful moments of my life.

What is your favorite Christmas recipe?

Every Christmas my sister prepares a super rich chipotle cream chicken. I really don’t have the recipe, she says it’s a secret!

What are you known for bringing to the holiday party?

I make an apple salad my friends and family like a lot. Whenever Christmas comes around they ask for it.

Kat Stanley-Whyte // UK

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live.

I’m currently in Edinburgh and have been for over six years now. It’s known for hosting one of the world’s biggest street parties for Hogmanay (the celebration of the coming New Year) and one of the most visited and most magical Christmas Markets in Europe. The main city center is taken over by trinket stalls, ice rinks, mulled wine bars and ingenious light shows across the city that illuminate the incredible architecture and sky. The fireworks on Hogmanay are a spectacle, watched by millions with the Castle as the backdrop. It’s all pretty dreamy and I’m exceedingly lucky to live here and have it on my doorstep.

What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

Regardless of where we are in the world, at Christmas my family has a wee tradition of awaking early, indulging in salmon and oatcakes, (with a touch of pepper and lemon) and far too much champagne to start the day. Curling up with endless blankets, my partner, cat, Christmas movies, and a couple tequilas is the best part of the holidays for me.

What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?

I absolutely adore a wee tequila hot toddy or a twist on traditional holiday horchata to warm the soul on cold Scottish winter evenings.


Tequila Hot Toddy


37.5ml Patrón Reposado
12.5ml Honey Liqueur
12.5ml Cinnamon infused Agave Syrup
Orange Zest, Orange Wedge, Star Anise, Cloves

Build, stir and top with hot water. 



Boozy Horchata

40ml Patrón Silver
12.5ml Honey Syrup
120ml Horchata
2 drops Chocolate Bitters


Build over ice, stir, dust with grated nutmeg.
Can serve hot instead too just build all ingredients and fire under the steamer. 



Horchata Mix


1 cup white rice
1 cup sugar (adjustable depending on how sweet you want it)
12 cup chopped almonds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 can (12oz) Evaporated milk
1.5 cups of milk (can use almond milk)
1L water


Directions:

- Soak the rice, cinnamon and almonds in a bowl with the water for at least five hours (until the rice softens).

- Strain, dispose of the water

- Blend the mixture and add the evaporated milk until a smooth mix has formed and grains of rice are completely ground.

- Strain the remaining mixture, add the sugar, vanilla and milk.

- Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pop in the fridge and enjoy!


What are you known for bringing to the holiday party?

I bring the tequila to make up for the really bad Christmas puns and dad jokes that I also attempt to provide and unsurprisingly fail miserably.

Fabio Steven Gonzalez // USA

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live.

A holiday tradition native to New York City is the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting. Every year, there is a special celebration where multiple famous artists perform on stage and people from all over the world attend the unveiling of the decorated tree.

What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?
My most favorite holiday tradition is the exchange of gifts on Christmas Day. I love to see faces of relatives and friends after unwrapping something they have wanted to get for some time, or their surprise when they receive something special and thoughtful. I believe that it is always better to give than to receive.

What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?

I am known for bringing lavender and rose water cookies that are delicious. They have the perfect amount of sweetness with floral undertones that nobody can resist. I know the flavors do not scream holidays but I only make them for special occasions, and there are never any left at the end of the celebration. Everyone seems to love them. The flavors are subtle and the texture is crumbly, they just melt in your mouth. Find a similar recipe linked here.

Zviad Khuntsaria // UAE

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live.

I’m coming from a very traditional country, Georgia, where we all celebrate the same holidays year after year, so for me it was mesmerizing when I moved to UAE and saw so many different nationalities celebrating their own unique holidays. With that, I think Ramadan is the biggest holiday most of the people are celebrating here.

During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline. But if that makes it sound super serious and boring, it’s really not. It’s a time of celebration and joy to be spent with loved ones. Since it’s a Muslim culture, Ramadan is the predominant holiday in this region, one where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchanges presents, and generally has a lovely time, which is very important when you are quite far away from your family and roots.


What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

My most memorable holidays probably would be an Orthodox Christmas (7th of January) because it’s also the birthday of my older sister. The whole family, friends and relatives were always coming to our house and celebrating together. It was always a massive celebration with a lot of food, wine and dances and just simply a great time.

To be honest, I was always jealous until now because my birthday would never gather so many people and she was always receiving more gifts than me! This day particularly stays in my memories and heart because what’s better than seeing everyone you love in one place having an amazing time?


What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?
My all time favorite holiday sweet is Gozinaki, which is basically caramelized nuts (mostly walnuts) with fried honey. It’s mandatory to have on the table on New year and Christmas. Sweets were always my biggest weakness from childhood (and still are). I used to eat Gozinaki until I was feeling sick! Unfortunately, I’m not a good chef and can’t share my own recipe, however I found this one (linked here) which explains steps of preparation quite well.


What are you known for bringing to the holiday party?
Coming from Georgia, the best thing I bring, aside from myself, is Georgian wine. I always have some reserved wine to take to parties. Wherever I bring it, I usually share traditions around how we drink wine back home. One of those traditions that my friends now know all about is having a tamada at the table, which is basically a toast master”. Georgians like to say that the tamada is dictator of the table, but it would be more appropriate to compare him to a leader or even a teacher.

A tamada traditionally ought to be eloquent, intelligent, smart, sharp−witted and quick thinking, with a good sense of humor since very often some of the guests might try to compete with them on the toast making. At the Georgian table, a tamada is considered to help bridge the gap between past, present and future, toasting ancestors and descendants as well as the other guests at the table. A toast can be proposed only by a tamada. I love to see how people who might be meeting me for first time carefully listen to what I say during toast, as sharing a little bit of my country’s heritage always makes me very proud.

Lawrence Christopher Gabriel // Philippines

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live.

The most prominent holiday tradition here in the Philippines is the display of Parols’, a star shaped lantern made out of any recyclable materials such as plastic bottles and old newspapers, which can be seen illuminating almost every house in the neighbourhood.



What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

My favourite holiday tradition during my childhood is when our whole family comes together during Christmas Day. Every part of the family was present back in the day, we ate, exchanged gifts, caught up and our parents would drink.



What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?

For this year’s holiday, I created a recipe called Añejo Milk Punch:


45ml Patrón Añejo

10ml Yellow Chartreuse

10ml White Chocolate Syrup

60ml Almond Milk


Shake all ingredients and strain into a rocks glass.

Garnish with shaved almonds



What are you known for bringing to the holiday party?

Since I became a bartender everybody expects me to bring in the booze, so I never fail them so I’ll be sure we all have a great time.

Luca Fanari // Italy

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live. 

The Holiday tradition where I live is called San Pietro e Paolo “ , this is the patron of Rome and we celebrate it on 29th of June . There are not decorations in particular, but everybody goes to Piazza Venezia and waits for tricolor arrows.

What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions? 

My favorite holiday was almost 2 years ago when me and a friend of mine rented a car from San Francisco to Las Vegas.That was awesome ! After Vegas we went to San Diego and Los Angeles where I also did a guest shift in West Hollywood.

What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?

On Christmas my Grandma always make a lasagna, but that’s not a normal lasagna, she has a secret recipe, crunchy on top and soft in the middle . So yes this is my favorite recipe and I cannot send the link because just my Grandma can do this magic .

What are you known for bringing to the holiday party? 

This question is too easy! I always bring pre-batched cocktails!

Harrison Kenney // Australia

Tell us about a holiday tradition native to the city or region where you live. 

We tend to abandon many Northern Hemisphere traditions around Christmas because for us it’s summer time and it’s HOT! Many of us head to the beach, instead of snow it’s sand, and instead of roast turkey we love cold seafood platters. We have an annual tradition called Carols by Candlelight that involves people gathering outdoors to sing carols, and it features live performances from celebrities!

What’s your most memorable or favorite holiday traditions?

Christmas Eve for me is always drinks with friends, and Christmas Day is time spent with my family. It’s always a massive BBQ with an exorbitant amount of food featuring champagne and sparking Shiraz! My family comes from all around the world and it’s incredibly special to have us all together on the 25th. The following day is spent watching the Boxing Day Test”, a cricket match held annually at Melbourne’s Cricket Ground.

What’s a favorite holiday recipe of yours?

Cherry Margarita!

It’s a mix of Patrón Tequila, mezcal, lime, sugarcane and Christmas cherries.

What are you known for bringing to the holiday party? 

A bloody good time!

Through jokes, celebrations, and recipes we hope you enjoyed tapping into small moments around the world. Make sure to follow along on Instagram @academia_patron to find more recipes and interactions with Perfectionists and beyond. If you have a tradition or recipe you’d like to share make sure to tag us so we can hopefully inspire others! Happy Holidays from Patrón Perfectionists and Academia Patrón!