Competition is a celebration of tequila
Cocktail competitions are not just about the winning drinks. They are about community, creativity and exploration, discovering new flavours and learning new techniques. Only a handful worldwide truly raise the bar for the industry. Among those, there is Patrón Perfectionists, the world’s premier tequila competition.
After the challenges of the past year, Patrón felt it was important to make the competition as inclusive as possible. So it has opened the competition to all bartenders across Canada, regardless of where (or if) they are working.
Contestants must create their cocktails using an accessible pantry list. From those, a judging panel will choose 30 national finalists. Their recipes will be posted online at patronperfectionists.com, and from June until August, consumers of legal drinking age can vote on their favourites. In August, the top three voted contestants will join seven judge-selected contestants to form the Canadian top 10. From September to October, there will be extensive coverage until the Canadian finalist is selected.
That individual will win a trip to Hacienda Patrón in Jalisco, Mexico, to compete in the global finals in January 2022.
Participate in the competition by making and sampling the top 30 Canadian recipes at home with PATRÓN.
Vote for your favourite at PatronPerfectionists.com
Q&A with Jared Schmidt, reigning Patrón Perfectionists Canadian champion
Why did you enter Patrón Perfectionists?
When I entered Patrón Perfectionists in 2019, it was actually my second time entering the competition. My first time entering was in 2018, where I made it to the Alberta regional for the competition but did not advance.
I wanted to enter this competition because I was inspired by other bartenders I had met who had been successful in cocktail competitions. I thought it sounded like such a cool opportunity, and I just really wanted to put myself out there.
For 2019 in particular, two of my very close friends and colleagues in Kelowna also entered the competition. I think the fact that all three of us entered pushed us to really work hard to do our best in this particular competition, and then I was fortunate enough to make it all the way to the finals in the global round.
What was your inspiration crafting the winning cocktail?
My inspiration for crafting my cocktail for the 2019 Patrón Perfectionists competition came from my home at the time: the Okanagan Valley. The criteria for the competition was to come up with a cocktail that showcased Patrón, but also represented your home country. So I decided to approach that in a hyper-local way, and showcase ingredients and flavours that came from the Okanagan Valley. I was able to draw parallels between the importance of agriculture in communities in Canada, as well as the agriculture in Los Altos, Jalisco, where the Blue Weber Agave to make Patrón tequila is grown. Between my story, and the flavours of the cocktail itself, it really struck the right chord with the judges, and that was my best performance to date in a cocktail competition.
What was your experience like at Hacienda Patrón?
The experience at the Hacienda Patrón is absolutely unparalleled. It is literally paradise on Earth. Everyone at the Hacienda is so warm and welcoming, the scenery is breathtaking, and you are treated with the highest level of hospitality at all times. Also, the experience of being in Mexico, seeing the fields of blue agave in person, and watching the entire process of how the tequila is produced—well, that gives you a sense of the value in every bottle when you get to witness that level of craftsmanship firsthand. It’s tough to describe in a few sentences just how surreal it is to be down there.
Bartender Jared Schmidt is the Canadian winner of the 2019 Patrón Perfectionists competition. Originally from Alberta, he currently works behind the bar at Anh & Chi, where he’s developing a new Patrón cocktail.
The making of the “It Takes a Valley” cocktail
We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village.” And it does. It takes a community to raise one another, support one another, and grow together. For Patrón, it takes the communities of farmers growing the Blue Weber Agave, and the workers at the Hacienda to make the spirit we all know and love. For me as a bartender, the people in this industry acted as my community. They offered support, education, and guidance through my career and personal life.
My cocktail for Patrón Perfectionists 2019, “It Takes a Valley,” is a tribute to the tremendous sense of community felt by myself in this industry, a tribute to the beautiful Okanagan Valley that I live in, and a tribute to the incredible communities of people that make Patrón possible. My selection of ingredients also aims to reflect that: many components of my cocktail come from the Okanagan Valley, which is one of the major agricultural regions in Canada. The apple-infused Bénédictine uses B.C. apples from the valley, and lends a honeyed apple sweetness to the apple and pumpkin flavours in the Patrón Silver. The verjus substitutes any sort of a citrus ingredient, providing the acidity for the drink while also being more environmentally sustainable. Finally, the dry apple cider provides crisp apple notes and a delicate effervescence, while the simple syrup adds balance, and the grapefruit peel provides a bright citrus fruit nose. It takes more than a village for this drink to come together; it takes a valley in Canada and valleys in Mexico to produce the components that this drink is made from. And I think that marriage of two regions is simply perfect.
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