The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49



Even more reasons to enter PATRÓN Perfectionists: Bar and Tequila training, plus mentorship from an incredible line-up of industry experts

ByThe Cocktail Lovers


Believe us, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t throw your towel (or should that be cocktail shaker?) into the ring to give yourself an opportunity to be part of one of the most respected programmes on the global cocktail calendar. Put it this way, work and ‘stuff’, will always be there but opportunities like this don’t always come along.

We know how it is: you have the best of intentions to meet deadlines, then bam! Work and all kinds of ‘stuff’ gets in the way. So, consider this your friendly alarm call, your reminder that time is counting down for you to get your entries in for this year’s PATRÓN Perfectionists programme. But whatever you do, don’t press that snooze button for too long. You have until 30th September to get your PATRÓN Paloma twist with PATRÓN Reposado in (global), or your PATRÓN Margarita with PATRÓN Silver (if you’re in USA).

The stunning Hacienda PATRÓN

Put winning to the side for a moment, even if you’re not the recipient of the brand trip of a lifetime, getting first-hand experience of all things Mexico, agave and PATRÓN Tequila at the incredible Hacienda, just getting your entry challenge recipe in means you’ll be able to take your career up a notch or two by reaping the benefits of bar and Tequila education, plus mentoring from some the biggest, most respected names in the business. We’re talking the likes of Matt Whiley from Re in Sydney; Kate Boushel from Groupe Barocco, Montreal; Deano Moncrieffe from London’s Hacha; Julio Cabrera from Café La Trova, Miami; Gina Barbachano from Hanky Panky in Mexico City, and Christina Veira from Bar Mordecai, Toronto.

These legends are all part of the new PATRÓN Perfectionists mentorship programme, meaning that they will be on hand to share their expertise at different stages of the journey. We’ve seen all of them hosting online seminars for bartenders from all over the world during the entry stage, and some of them will also be supporting regional or national finalists in their respective countries, others will be hosting educational modules throughout the year, and some will also be joining the global finalists at Hacienda PATRÓN in March 2024. Follow the PATRÓN Perfectionists Instagram page to find out who’s doing what and when.

But before the big reveals and ahead of the 30th September deadline, we caught up with Matt Whiley, Deano Moncrieffe and Gina Barbachano who will also be hosts of the World of Agave educational module set to go live on Academia PATRÓN in the lead up to the global final event. Between the three of them, you’ll have every stage of your PATRÓN Perfectionists journey well and truly covered. And get this, they’ll all be available to answer your individual questions regarding the challenges leading up to the global final as well as participating in scheduled online group chats.

We checked in with them to find out why they’re taking part in this first of its kind mentorship programme and to the hear a little more about what they’ll be bringing to the party. 

Deano Moncrieffe inspects the agave at the Hacienda

Deano Moncrieffe, mentoring on all things agave

“This is such a super exciting programme to be part of. As I do a lot of work with mentors through my Equal Measures initiative, I understand the impact that mentorship can have on someone – not just on a professional level but in their personal lives as well. Which is why I’m fully embracing my role as a mentor because I know it can really positively change or influence someone in a powerful way. 

“From a bartending programme and competition point of view, it’s really exciting to share my knowledge with the bartenders and, from a personal level: wouldn’t it be great to try and change or influence someone whose cocktail then goes on to be the winning cocktail of PATRÓN Perfectionists? And for that person to turn round to me and say that I really helped them to understand the ingredient, the processes – that influence is really dramatic in itself. So that’s my goal, to make sure I give enough information, history and background about the plant that could change someone’s trajectory or influence their direction. That would give me so much pleasure and I really can’t wait to answer questions, feed that curiosity and see what the bartenders come up with. It’s such a fantastic competition to be part of.”

Gina Barbachano explores Mexican flavours

Gina Barbachano, mentoring on culture and hospitality

“Being chosen to be a PATRÓN Perfectionists mentor is very important to me, it means that people see me and appreciate me for what I’ve done in the industry and want me to share something for the future by imparting my knowledge with the new generation of bartenders. I can’t wait!

I’ll be mentoring on how to use details from your culture – in my case, Mexican culture – in cocktails. I’ll also be sharing tips on how to adjust the cocktails and make them more than a good story in your presentation but something you can use in the future while working and doing service. 

I’m really looking forward to hearing what the bartenders have to say and what gets them hyped. The PATRÓN Perfectionists journey promises to be a very exciting one for everyone taking part.”

Matt is impressed by the waste management at the Hacienda

Matt Whiley, mentoring on creative process and waste reduction 

“Owning a bar, you’re mentoring your staff all the time, but I’ve never mentored on a long-term strategy like this, it’s really in-depth and really rewarding – for me as much as the bartenders. 

“I haven’t been given a brief as such, I’ve just been asked to talk to the bartenders about the way I like to do things. Obviously, anyone who knows me and what I do will expect me to talk about waste, which I will do but ultimately, I want to talk about the creative processes and how to be creative with the use of waste. It’s something that I’ve never spoken about – I wanted to include a section on how to use your surroundings to make yourself more creative in my book but in the end, it didn’t make it. But PATRÓN Perfectionists is the ideal platform for me share these insights, especially after visiting Hacienda PATRÓN for the first time a few weeks ago. I can honestly say it was probably one of the most inspiring brand trips I’ve ever been on. I left feeling so inspired after seeing a brand that smashes it on the sustainability front and I can’t wait to share that with the bartenders. 

“I’ve always followed PATRÓN Perfectionists and what the programme stands for but the big draw for me was working with Lauren Mote, [Global Director of On-Trade Excellence at PATRÓN Tequila and leader of the PATRÓN Perfectionists programme]. She’s such a great mentor for bartenders around the world and for me to be also mentored by her is really inspiring.”

The mentors are ready, are you? 

A reminder of the entry challenge brief:


Contest for bartenders based in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK. 

Here’s where you get to do that bit that we know you love doing best, pushing your creativity to the max. This is your chance to show your appreciation for that most delicious of Tequila cocktails, the beautifully balanced Paloma. But not only do you have to transform it into a PATRÓN Reposado Paloma, it has to be inspired by your favourite city. 

PATRÓN Reposada Paloma

Obviously, with it being called a PATRÓN Reposado Paloma, your cocktail needs to feature PATRÓN Reposado Tequila – at least 30ml to ensure it shines though. Additionally, it has to be lengthened with plain soda water. These are key. Next comes the part where you can really shake things up: Your third ingredient, the cordial, is where you’ll get to really show what you’re made of. It’s where you bring your personality and the essence of the city that your drink is based on to life – be it your birthplace, dream location, home of your favourite author – the choice is yours, as are the ingredients you use in said cordial. One important thing to remember here though is, grapefruit. After all, it wouldn’t be a Paloma without one. However, the way you include it in your drink is totally up to you (think dust, peel, flesh – go wild!)

Next step: Head to the portal to submit your recipe!


Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Perfectionists sponsored by PATRÓN is available only for bartenders based in the USA with the entry challenge and supporting educational programme being Tales Margarita Masters. 

The brief is to create a PATRÓN Silver Margarita serve worthy of your favourite city. The drink must contain PATRÓN Silver, and ingredients inspired by your city of choice. There’s no restriction on the amount of ingredients used, but remember that PATRÓN Silver is the hero (minimum 1.5oz/45ml) and the DNA and balance of a Margarita needs to be respected. Head to the Tales Perfectionists portal for the US to submit your entry.

To find out more about PATRÓN Perfectionists 2024, visit Entries close September 30, 2023.

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The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)


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The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49
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The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49

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