A good many tequila drinkers favor the Patron brand, founded by Americans and now a proud Mexican tequila label. For Patron tequila aficionados, a visit to the Patron distillery in the heart of tequila's birthplace -- Jalisco, Mexico -- is a bucket-list dream.
Sound cool? You can scope out the Patron distillery estate in a virtual tour captured by drone. If you go in person, your experience begins with a scenic drive through the lovely mountain villages north of Guadalajara to Patron's hacienda estate and distillery.
Here, visitors are treated to insider looks at the Patron distilling process. One highlight is watching muscled strongmen chop up agave leaves with axes. (All the best tequilas, like Patron, are made exclusively from agave plants, with no sugar, coloring, or flavors added. Pure tequila will boast "100% agave" on the label.)
Another highlight of the Patron tequila distillery visit is a s eries of in-depth tastings. The first happens as soon as you arrive, conducted in a video lounge where you watch a revealing film about tequila-making. Later, there's another tasting, with ample pours of Patron's various tequilas. You'll indulge in light blanco tequila, hearty reposado, and complex barrel-aged añejo. You'll also try Patron's Roca tequila, hand-made in the traditional tahona (stone-ground) method, and also Gran Patron, the ultra-luxury line. And you can get acquainted with Patron XO coffee tequila and Patron Citronge liqueurs in mango, orange, and lime. It's best to go in a drinking mood.
The Patron distillery visit is a great day. But it's a very exclusive experience. You have to be in the liquor or hospitality business, and personally invited. Otherwise, the distillery is closed to you.
That's the bad news. The good news is that Patron has developed a program that brings its tequila distillery experience to bars around the world. These watering holes serve customers Patron tequila from full barrels that the bar has ordered from the distillery in their desired style of tequila.
These bars serve their Patron barrel tequila in both in tasting portions and in cocktails that showcase the liquor. Here's a look at some great bars that recreate the Patron distillery experience -- a lot closer than Jalisco.
You Can Bank on The Tequia Vault at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
Top Tequilas (and Guacamole Too) at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
It's no surprise that a five-star hotel bar in Texas specializes in tequila. But The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, in particular, takes its food and beverage very seriously. The hotel eatery the famed Fearing's Restaurant and Rattlesnake Bar, led by celebrity chef Dean Fearing.
Under Patron's Barrel Select program, Chef Fearing imports a Patron barrel that he helped create. Fearing's Barrel Select contains his own version of Patron's añejo tequila, ideal for sipping solo.
One highlight of the tequila at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas occurs nightly at 6 P.M. That's when the Tequila Vault ( shown above) opens up. Everyone gathers 'round as the hotel's Guacamologist whips up bowls of Mexico's beloved avocado snack, which gets passed around with chips -- and with mini-margaritas made with a variety of tequilas including Patron.
The Guacamologist event is free of charge. It's a learning experience as well as a tasting opportunity, with the hotel's "tequilier" on hand. This specialist was certified by the tequila officials in Mexico, and he's ready to discuss tequila styles (and legends) and to offer comparative tastes.
Afterward, many Vault guests amble over to the Rattlesnake Bar to continue their Patron tequila immersion... without the plane fare to Guadalajara's tequila distilleries.
Next: Patron Barrel Select sips right on a Caribbean beach
Patron Barrel Select Tequila Pairs Well with Caribbean Vacations
Cocktails, You Win, at The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort
The Cayman Islands are a lot closer than Jalisco and its tequila distilleries. But if you're wondering how tequila drinkers fare on a Caribbean island famed for its rum, let us introduce you to The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach. The resort's Catboat lobby bar, a tequila specialist, is a proud participant in Patron's Select Barrel Program. And you can sample the goods right on magnificent Seven Mile Beach, poured as shots, on the rocks, and in tequila cocktails.
Here's how the program works. Catboat bar orders one barrel's worth of unaged Patron Silver at a time. The Jalisco distillery then ages the crystal-clear spirit in an oak barrel for three months, allowing the tequila to mature into a mellow, pale-gold Reposado. The spirit is then bottled, labeled, and numbered for The Westin Grand Cayman's exclusive use, as its own select barrel Tequila. Along with exclusive tequila bottles made from this tequila, the resort receives the barrel itself (shown above).
Catboat and The Westin's other bars offer the resort's bespoke tequila as a sipping spirit and mixed into tequila cocktails like margaritas, palomas, sangritas, and other tequila cocktails. Guests loyal to the Patron brand can indulge in Catboat's Patron tastings of Silver, Reposado, and Añejo tequilas. They can also compare the Barrel Select liquor with another distinctive, high-end spirit from Patron, the Gran Patron Tequila Piedra, which ages for three years in an oak barrel.
Find out The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, renovated to a high gloss in 2016-2017, and about the island's perfect Seven Mile Beach.
Next: A California tequila bar near the U.S.-Mexico border feels like you're on the other side
Diving into Tequila Beside the Pacific at Marriott Marquis San Diego
Patron Tequila Sipping Just North of South of the Border: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
San Diego is a fun-loving port town known for its sunny days and high-spirited nights. Right in the center of town, by the marina, the Marriott Marquis does its part for San Diego's nightlife. Its moonlit, poolside Tequila Bar & Grille is one of Southern California's most extensive tequila specialists. Visitors can learn a lot about tequila if they wish, or just bask in its glow.
The Tequila Bar & Grille is one of the elite bars that offer Patron's Barrel Select tequila. You can sip this custom-distilled oak-casked tequila on the rocks with a squeeze of lime and a lick of salt, or mixed into a cocktail. The bar creates a dozen variations on the margarita plus a daily 'rita.
If you're playing the field brand-wise, you can choose from over five dozen tequilas here. The bar pours tequila tasting flights by brand, so you can explore the different styles of Patron and Patron Roca. Need a hit of SoCal right now? Check out Tequila Bar & Grille's photo gallery.
Next: heading to Mexico City? See where to immerse yourself in tequila
The Elegance of Tequila at Fifty Mils Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City
Fifty Mils Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City: for the Love of Tequila
First-time visitors to Mexico City arrive expecting great Mexican food and tequila. But they're often shocked by this capital's elegance, sophistication, and artistic soul. Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City is a bastion of all of the above, and its Fifty Mils Bar is a trendsetting cocktail bar. You may be 300 miles from the Patron distillery, but you can dig deep into Patron and other tequilas here.
Fifty Mils is named for the generous amount of tequila used by the house's bartenders in their cocktails: 50 ml, or 1.7 oz. The bar features dozens of tequila brands including numerous types of tequila distilled by Patron. Fifty Mils' tequilero (tequila expert) will gladly set up "vertical" tastings of the various types of tequila produced by one casa (brand). Twosomes can request the bar's tequila tastings dedicated to the love of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who lived and worked with passion in Mexico City. Find out more about the great Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City and its Fifty Mils bar.
Next: the Patron distillery experience in the view-tiful heart of New York City
No Dream: Drinking Tequila a la Jalisco, But Lit by the Empire State Building
Refinery Rooftop Bar in NYC: Patron Barrel Drinking, Bucket-List View
In New York City, you can hardly keep track of the drinking trends. But the Patron tequila goings-on at the Refinery Rooftop bar has become a local classic. This penthouse bar atop the urbane Refinery Hotel New York delivers a spectacular view (above) of Manhattan's iconic skyscraper -- along with custom-distilled Patron tequila aged exclusively for the Refinery Rooftop at the Patron distillery in Mexico.
"We're known as a mixology destination, and the Patron barrel tequila is unique," said Rob McGovern, food and beverage director of the Refinery Rooftop, "It was made for us at their Jalisco distillery in a light reposado style mellowed by barrel-aging in the same kind of American oak used by bourbon makers. This tequila is extremely versatile. It's structured enough for sipping yet subtle and delicious in cocktails."
The Refinery Rooftop's drinks menu always features a cocktail that spotlights the Patron barrel tequila. The Rooftop Margarita, so refreshing in summer, is made with clementine juice and jalapeño. And the Rooftop Sparkler, which combines the Patron barrel tequila with Prosecco, goes well with this bar's scintillating views.
Next: in the Big Apple, a laser focus on tequila flights
Your Tastebuds Will Take Flight in a Herredura Tequila Flight in NYC
What You'd Do at the Tequila Herredura Distillery in Jalisco, You Can Do in MIdtown Manhattan
Tequila Herredura, a distillery in Jalisco, is open for tours and tastings at its 150-year-old hacienda estate, where tequila is made the way it was long ago. But to get there, you must fly to Mexico City, change planes to Guadalajara, then hop on a luxury train that the distillery runs to Tequila Herredura in the outlying village of Atitlan.
You have another option closer to home. You could drop into Fine & Rare, a midtown Manhattan boite (and sometime jazz club) that zeroes in on rum, brandy, and tequila. Fine & Rare has a special fondness for Herredura tequila and will happily pour you a complete Herredura tasting (shown above) and walk you through it. You're not pacing the stone floors of a historic tequila hacienda in Jalisco, but you're drinking the fruits of its labor -- and savoring a classic New York night besides. ¡Viva tequila!