If you, like thousands of other people, managed to pop your head into the enormous London Cocktail Week Village in Old Spitalfields Markets earlier this month you wouldn’t have been able to miss the giant Patrón bottle, painted in global flags, perched atop the Patrón Cocktail Lab.
Hosting bartenders from Shanghai to New York, Athens and Mexico City as well as Buenos Aires, Melbourne, and a cameo from London, this bar served up tequila cocktails to our London audience that had truly been invented for different global palates, giving all us LCW imbibers a great insight into how the most famous agave spirit is being poured and enjoyed around the world.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the tequila houses were having to convince us all that their beautifully crafted liquid wasn’t intended for student shots, rimmed with salt and followed by an acidic bite of lime. A sentiment echoed by Chris Hysted-Adams, General Manager of Melbourne’s Black Pearl, who said, “tequila has such a great history behind it and sense of place. It’s also bloody delicious. Top tips? Don’t ever rule it out no matter how many shots you did when you were younger. You’ll find a way to get back into it. An El Diablo is a pretty damn good way of falling in love with it all over again. Then eventually I’ll join you for a nice sip of Patrón Silver...”
From its fresh green vegetal notes un-aged, to the richer Honeyed tones of a Patrón Reposado, tequila spans across the menu and earns its place along the classic cannon of mixed drinks, from the fresh Margarita to a celebratory Mexican 55. But if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it, we’re getting inspired by these incredible global trends and bartenders.
The Trend: Homemade Spice
Seen in The Patrón Echo by Nikos Bakoulis from Athen’s Clumsies, this trend is all about introducing fresh, bright flavours to tequila that aren’t always a squeeze of citrus. Nikos made a beautiful vegetal Greek syrup with cucumber, zucchini, chive and lemongrass and paired this with a small splash of mezcal to elevate the smoky element in his drink. A perfect way to kick off happy hour.
The Trend: Sparkling Wine Cocktails
You might think champagne or prosecco wouldn’t naturally pair to tequila’s often dominating green flavour, but you’d be wrong. The crisp bright notes of sparkling wine are a natural bedfellow for Mexico’s native spirit. In José Luis León’s (from Licoreria Limantou, Mexico City) It’s Summer cocktail we saw silver tequila working beautifully with elderflower liqueur, prosecco and berries for an easy to sip cocktail making summer stay on our minds all year round.
The Trend: Food in Drinks
Exotically flavoured with touches of acidity, the ability to convert dishes into cocktails was fully realised by Speaklow’s Shingo Gokan, based in Shanghai, in his drink Tom Yum which used aromatic Thai ingredients with the herbal tequila to broaden horizons and taste buds all in one glass. Among his ingredients were milk, white wine vinegar, lemongrass , coriander and chilli.
The Trend: Wine-Like Cocktails
When you feel like something light and funky, it’s not always to a glass of orange wine we have to turn to. Perfectly demonstrated by Alex Lawrence from London’s own Dandelyan in his Patrón Agave Sherry, the drink was vegetal and light making an easy sipping way to cool off after a long day. Alex used Patrón Silver tequila with an agave sherry ferment made in the prep-room at Dandelyan alongside Yellow Chartreuse.
The Trend: Savoury Spice
Modern cocktails are not all about fruit juice and sugar, a sentiment and flavour shown to all of LCW by the talented Nico de Soto (who in fact used to work in London for those lucky enough to have drunk at both ECC and Happiness Forgets over the years). Nico now owns his own bar in New York, Mace, which champions the use of spices. His savoury and aromatic modern cocktail called Curry Leaves used a Coconut fat-washed Patrón Reposado tequila with Pandan-infused Cynar, Antica Formula and curry leaves bitters.
The Trend: Spirituous-Led
Cocktails may have been used over the years to mask bad spirits but that’s not longer the case, and Patrón tequila shone through in Chris Hysted-Adams’s The Death Flip, brought all the way from his bar Black Pearl in Melbourne. This Patrón-infused cocktail brought exciting flavours together for a drink that packs a punch, using Patrón Silver tequila, Jägermeister, Yellow Chartreuse, vanilla syrup, egg and nutmeg.
The Trend: Light Vermouth
A lesson from Buenos Aires; when it’s hot, sip something light and fresh. Renato Giovannoni from Floreria Atlantico presented his stunning El Clericot De Retiro that combined Patrón Silver with vermouth bianco, mandarin juice, cucumber, eucalyptus syrup and tonic water. Inspired by the Retiro neighbourhood where all the immigrants used to arrive into Argentina in the early years of 1900 and where Floreria Atlantico is located, this drink is the perfect tequila cocktail in summer.