Hands up if you are partial to a tequila shot or two. Okay, ten sometimes. Keep your hand raised if it’s been your favourite and least favourite thing in one night. We’ve all been there. Still, if anything’s going to turn you back onto the spirit, it’s a trip to the hacienda of Patron – and there’s not a plastic sombrero in sight.
Surprisingly for a spirit with such a punch behind it, Patron is young, having only been in the market for 30 years. Not that that it has any bearing on the spirit of course; as Patrón’s Head of Production, Antonio Rodriquez, says, “since day one, the founders knew that their product was special.”
Like all good spirits, it starts with the ingredients. The sweetness in Patrón’s tequila is obtained by carefully-produced agaves – 100 per cent Blue Weber Agave, to be exact. They take six or seven years to grow, must be cut as close to the heart as possible and taste kind of like a cantaloupe melon. There can also be no more than ten percent of red patches on the plant or it makes the whole thing bitter.
Because water is too good for these things, they are cleaned with honey, which is drizzled over them for 12 hours. It’s then cooked to break them down and crushed using large Tahona mills. The juices produced are fermented for three days separately to keep things nice and controlled.
The whole process from fruit to tequila is about as sustainable as these things can possibly be. Liquid waste is re-used for cleaning, waste material is used for fertilizer and the vegetables grown from said fertilizer feeds Patron’s 1,600-something workers. All in all, it’s guilt free drinking… at least until the following morning.
As for the tequila itself… well, let’s just say ultra-premium is right. The collection ranges from the smooth, easily mixed silver all the way up to some bottles which, at a blind taste test, you’d assume were something closer to cognac. There are even some flavoured blends, too – though for my money the Anejo is the perfect balance.
Everything is done by hand at Patrón and, cheesy as it sounds, you can taste that care and attention. Sure it’s good to know that it’s being made sustainably and that the way the liquid is produced is about as traditional as it can be. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the tequila. Fortunately Patron have that covered, and without a plastic sombrero in sight.