Community & Culture | Mar. 23, 2021

Practice Makes Perfectionists

Patrón Perfectionists

Since its inception in 2015, the Patrón Perfectionists competition has grown beyond its humble beginnings to become a coliseum of sorts to reveal titans of the industry. In 2019 alone (the most recent competition before halting ceremony during 2020) the competition featured an astounding 3,000+ participating bartenders covering 30 international markets spanning six continents. The competition exists to highlight the Mexican perfectionists who craft Patrón Tequila, the mixologists around the world who create beautiful cocktails, and the consumer who knows not all tequilas are created equal. Patrón Perfectionists is much more than a competition, it is a celebration of artistry and of community.

The competition asks that contributing bartenders represent their personality, background, and individuality as a way of manifesting themselves as a perfectionist. Those submitting their cocktails already know what it takes to balance a fine drink; every day behind a bar is a time to hone their skills with spoon and shaker, creating something worthy of an awaiting glass. To take this concoction one step further and to present it to an awaiting panel is already enough to separate the good from the great.

The creation of a #simplyperfect cocktail is only one tool perfectionists are expected to wield from their arsenal as competition and judging look to gaze upon much more. Many contests ask for a cocktail and a story, but Patrón Perfectionists is a presentation of self. Bartenders are to lay out their inspiration and the many paths it took before it became a cocktail. They are to deliver a well-crafted delicious drink with precision. Their words measured and counted just as the spirit flowing from bottle to jigger.

A bartender smiles as she pours a mixed drink

The method and creation of a simply perfect cocktail must be original, in such a way that its originality must inspire. Their presentation must be welcoming, their explanation as crisp, clear, and concise as possible. Each line must be delivered with rigor so that judges may understand what went into crafting the expertly poured cocktail into the elegantly placed vessel. Each detail is crucial as a slip in service, a spill of liquid, or a forgotten ingredient could be the simple misstep in the calculation that keeps a contestant from being crowned champion. It is perfection after all.

What is hospitality if not the practice of building community? Hospitality plays an integral role in developing perfectionists; it is the difference between feeling welcomed and feeling served. Global finals have been one way in which Patrón puts its hospitable foot forward to welcome finalists to the Hacienda so that they are welcomed into the warm embrace of Mexico and shown what the community and culture have to offer. Those entrants dedicated to their craft determined to succeed, and excelling beyond their market will be rewarded with the opportunity to present their cocktail on the global stage.

At night, a few Perfectionists in formalwear smile and wave from a balcony

Days leading up to the finals, contestants will be provided the opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of their fellow Perfectionists. As a bit of reprieve before the toll of competition sets in, they will become acquainted with the makers and artisans of Patrón Tequila as well as a dive into the work of other local artisans, such as a hands-on agave fiber papermaking demonstration with artist Manuel Ramirez; and a tour of the workshop that produces the coveted trophies led by Rodo Padilla himself. Finalists will feel not only the warmth of the Jalisco sun while planting their own memories in the agave fields but also the warmth of the Hacienda Patrón staff and familia as every corner of the beautiful grounds reveals a smiling face.

Time spent at Hacienda Patrón allows for contestants to spend time with their thoughts, to be engaged in community and culture, to practice their presentation, and to learn of their fellow Perfectionists. It is on these grounds that their future community takes shape. Each member of the Perfectionists family knows their interaction with each other and the world doesn’t stop once a champion has been announced. To become a Patrón Perfectionist is to become a lifelong member bringing new meaning to the phrase practice makes permanent.”

For 2021, entrants will join a first-of-its-kind competition that begins virtually through a pre-recorded presentation and potentially ends in Mexico. 2020 provided a pause in programming but awarded time to bartenders to reflect on the importance of hospitality and what that word can mean when not surrounded by the walls of their familiar bars and restaurants. This year’s Patrón Perfectionists will reveal a new wave of competitors, the likes of which the world has yet to see.

Do you think you have what it takes? Register here!

Author: Joshua Gandee