Patrón Perfectionists Judgment Day

…And then there came Wednesday, the day of the Semi finals…all contestants did a great job and although the tension was present, we all had a great time and cheered everyone up after their 10 minutes in front of the jury. First heat were (in running order):

Tomoe Osawa from Japan

Gian Paolo Di Pierro from Italy

Sergio Figueroa from Mexico City

Joshua Garthwaite from South Africa

Nathalie Durrieu from France

Myself

Omer Gazin from Israel

Greg Almeida from UK

Makina Labreque from Canada

After a light lunch the second heat took place. Contestant were

Jin-Woo Lee from South Korea

Emilio Valencia from UAE

Jose Romero from Guadalajara

Madeleine Tate from New Zealand

Diego González from Spain

Tim Devriendt from Belgium

Li Tong from China

David Robinson from Australia

After the runthrough Lee Applbaum, the Global Chief Marketing Officer for Patrón came up with a very special kind of tasting, rewarding us for our efforts so far. Inviting us to the first floor of the Hacienda, we got the chance to discover the amazing tase of a bottle of Patròn en Lalique, a very rare Tequila that is exclusively available in a handmade Lalique cristal decanter. Bottles are limited to 500 worldwide and the tastes just blows you off.

Sipping this liquid gold, everybody enjoyed the mexican evening sun on the sundeck, before we gathered again for dinner and the announcement of the six finalsts.

Omer Gazit, Greg Almeida, Jin-Woo Lee, Tim Devriendt, Li Tong and David Robinson were the ones to present their cocktails in the grand final on Thursday.

The final day began with the visit of Casa Patrón, another production facility in the heart of Atotonilco el Alto and some sightseeing. Charming little village, definetly worth a visit.

After our return to the Hacienda, the finalists started their preparations for the evening, while the rest of us received another highlight. We were allowed to blend our own tequila. Yes, trust your eyes, each of us, who were not on the grand final, blended their own tequila, a unique bottle.

I chose from three different casks:

American and French Oak, aged 26 months

Limousin Oak, aged for 26 months

Hungarian Oak, aged 11,5 months

For the Grand Final the Copper Bar was filled to capacity and all six showed an amazing performance. Li Tong was the one who impressed the jury the most with her creation, story telling and some magic. Well deserved she was proclaimed Patròn Perfectionist 2017.

Shirt by Paul Smith

It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Met so many amazing people, made new friends, gathered experience and was taken to wonderful places. If you ever get the chance to visit this place or think about taking place in the Patron Perfectionists competition, I can only advise you to take this opportunity. It’s a time of your life you will never forget. Thank you to everyone involved to let me take part in this adventure.

Patrón Perfectionists Maguey

Already back in Germany it took me some days to sort pictures und fight the jetlag. Had my first bar shift last night after the amazing mexican adventure, so back on track. Today I would love to share the impressions from our visit to the agave fields, the distillery and the competition preparations.

 

Tuesday’s theme was the maguey (spanish for agave). Went to a plantation and watched a jimador harvest a piña for us. Spiky business…..

 

Lunchbreak was filled with some Charreada fun, some mexican style rodeo and the chance to do some serious horseriding

Outfit by Levi’s

In the early afternoon we headed back to the Hacienda Patrón to finally get know the secrets of tequila production. Got introduced to every single process, from cooking the agave, fermentation and setting, to finally try some uniquely aged tequilas.

Quite light headed the first of us had to do their presentation preparations later on, which already turned out to be quite a challenge, after constant margarita infusion and some tequila test shots on top…..

  

Finished some last drinks from the amazing Hacienda Bar team und went to bed to rest before the big day.

No, I did not shrink….the bed was huge!

Pictures by  Victor Long and myself.

 

Patrón Perfectionists – Hacienda

Day 2

Right after breakfast we set off to visit Tlaquepaque, a neighborhood in Guadalajara that is known for artisanal workshops and mastery in the craft of pottery. First stop was the studio of Rodo Padilla, the artist who designed and manufactures the Patron trophies.

 

Got interesting insights in the production process of pottery and related techniques. Continued with a visit of the Museo Regional de la Ceramica, where we met the artist Manuel Ramirez Martinez, a artisanal paper artist, who invited us to his workshop to produce our own paper from agave fibers with an ancient method.

Lunchbreak was in the stunning restaurant Casa Luna. Amazing food and excellent drinks. Highly recommended!

Entered our coach again and headed to Hacienda Patron, where we finished the day with a nice barbecue and some amazing cocktails.

 

Images by Victor Long and myself.

Patrón Perfectionists….En route to Guadalajara

Day 1

So here we are, the big Mexican adventure is about to start now.

Saturday the 13th of January was packed with last preparations. Final shopping for some ingredients, picking up my suit for the competition at Linus Hamburg and rushing home to start packing….

 

Spent saturday night with a bunch of friends at MXSTR. Kicked the night of with some super delicious Tacos and Margaritas, before we headed on to the Golden Pudel club to shake our bits to the hits of DJ legend Boris Dlugosch, followed by a last round of FAKO (Fanta-Korn) at the Old Sailor.

 

Got some sleep before my 22hours journey started at 7 am with my flight to Frankfurt and the surprising fact that my bags were to heavy and 2,5 kg overweight cost you 100 euros extra…..

The connection flight from Frankfurt to Houston turned out to be some kind of challenge. Had a prebooked (and paid!!!) seat at an emergency exit to get a little more extra leg space. Unfortunately the seating chart was wrong and I found myself squeezed in behind an emergency exit row with strange boxes under the seat in front of me and even less space than in a regular row…..happy face! Adressed the flight attendant and got a new seat , aisle and regular leg space, fair enough! Right after take-off the entertainment system broke down (of course only in my row) and couldn’t be fixed. Right, keep calm, this flight is equipped with flynet, so buy a day pass and work during the flight. Easy access, went online, all seemed to turn out nicely….but no! After 6 minutes flynet stopped broadcasting, due to the fact that our route was so up north that we couldn’t connect to the satellite anymore. Yeah!!! A +11 hours flight with no movies, no reading light and the internet service down. Well, at least we were on time. And the purser was really a sweetheart, so I arrived in Houston with a bunch of free extra miles as a compensation.

Outfit by Stone Island

I finally arrived in Guadalajara at 20:15 local time, met Felipe our driver and Gian Paolo, the contestant from Rome, Italy. Together we drove to the Westin Guadalajara Hotel, where we met the rest of the bartenders from all over the world, who participate in the Patrón Perfectionist competition, plus Simon and Paloma from Difford’s Guide, who will join us for the next days to  give you more inside views. Time for Margarita!

Thank you Patrón for the amazing gifts in our rooms!

 

 

The Gin Affairs

The Liquid Christmas Countdown

Christmastime and spending the last weekend in your hometown to celebrate the  50th wedding anniversary of your parents, left quite a melancholic aftertaste. Maybe it is just a question of growing up, that you suddenly discover yourself becoming melancholic when thinking about your homeland.  So I came up with the idea to create a cocktail honoring the places of my childhood, the Luneburg Heath.

At Le Lion we quite successfully sell a drink called „Sparling Beesknees“, containing Gin, Lemon, Honey, topped up wth Champagne. Having this as a base, I am recently working on a drink (working title: „Erika“-how witty!) I found these locally produced products. Calluna Gin,made out of local common juniper and heather, lavender and elderflower and a hint of roses. The honey is also locally produced, using the nectar of the heather plants growing all around.

So now I need your help. Should I stick to Champagne and Lemonjuice or can you think of an alternative,  that delivers acidity and bubbles to the drink. Looking forward to your comments and ideas.

And by the way:

Top: The painting in the background shows the farm of my grandparents. A place they had to leave behind during World War II.

Below: A picture taken on my parents wedding together with my grandparents.

The liquid Christmas Countdown

Tonight we will celebrate „Repeal Day“, the day the prohibition ended in 1933. There is no better classic drink to commemorate this great moment in cocktail history, than a Manhattan Cocktail.

70 ml Rye Whiskey

25 ml Sweet Vermouth

1 dash Angostura Bitters

The Manhattan was first mentioned in 1884 in O. H. Byron’s The Modern Bartender’s Guide. Since then a bunch of twists hit the bars. My favorites are the „Remember the Maine“

50 ml Rye Whiskey

20 ml Cherry Liqueur

20 ml Italian Vermouth

rinse glass with Absinth

and the „Deshler“

60 ml Rye Whiskey

30 ml Quinquina

10 ml Cointreau

2 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters

Photograph by Swetlana Holz

The Tenderblender Liquid Christmas Countdown

Today is the 1st of december and I will start my personal liquid christmas countdown until Santa knocks on your door. Every day I will present a cocktail or a certain spirit, sometimes related to the special day, an event or just because I like it.

 

Literally my kick-off will be one of my favourite champagne cocktails:

French 75

50 ml Dry Gin

25 ml Lemon Juice

15 ml Simple Syrup

top up with champagne

The Drink got first mentioned in the 1930 in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock.  The Name derives from a french 75mm field gun in WW1. And it is  supposed to be as powerful.

Picture by Swetlana Holz

Patrón Tequila Press Dinner in Berlin

©2017 Tom Nicholson

During Bar Convent Berlin 2017 I had the honour to prepare drinks for a media crowd on a dinner at the Restaurant einsunternull in Berlin. For a seven course menu I developed four cocktail pairings to accompany  the dishes.

Chicory and Quinze

Heart of Beef on Barley mash

Flamed Char with leek ash

Salad with Vinegar and oil (as a dessert!!!!)

The food was absolutely amazing and luckily my drinks seemed to please the crowd….

Photo credit : Tom Nicholson

Preparing the cocktail „El Martinez Xocola“ containing Patróm Alejo Tequila, italian Vermouth and Chocolate Vodka, finishing with an orange zest.

 Photo credit : Tom Nicholson
Photo credit : Tom Nicholson
Photo credit : Tom Nicholson
Photo credit : Tom Nicholson

Presenting my competition drink „The Golden South“ made with Patron Reposed Tequila, Verjus, Bergamotte Liqueur and some simple syrup. Served in 24k gold plated goblet from Sieger by Fürstenberg china.

Photo credit : Tom Nicholson

Massive thanks to Patron Tequila , Thrsxty and About Brand Communication for making all this happen.

Outfit by Herr von Eden

Watch by Gucci

Tattoo by Atelier Tietchen

Double Happiness

Taking a look outside our window these days, doesn’t really put you in a  happy mood. Especially in Germany the non-existing summer this year went straight on to become a cold, wet and windy fall. But here is something to cheer you up….

Canada Goose is launching a strictly limited edition of the Canada Coat to celebrate its own 60th birthday and to commemorate Canada’s (yes, the country!) 150th anniversary.

The parka is designed to be worn in some of the harshest conditions of the planet (I am talking about weather conditions, club credibility not officially tested yet) and comes with a drop down flap on the back, fleece hand warmer pockets and two mesh kidney pockets for extra protection. Available for both men and women.