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Tequila is full of surprises

Gosling Brother’s Patrón –dinner at Latin

Chances are your experiences with tequila are similar to mine. As a student, my introduction to the Mexican spirit, drunk straight up with the aid of salt and lemons, concluded with my friend prostrate on a road somewhere, while I have a dim recollection of crying for my mother.

I vowed never, ever to touch it again. Yes, this is the stuff from which legends are born.

So when I was invited by Gosling Brothers to attend a dinner at the South American-style restaurant Latin on Victoria Street one midsummer night a few weeks ago, where the courses were to be paired with several of the Patrón label tequilas, it was with trepidation that I arrived, with my husband in tow for moral support. I have to admit I was shaking a little bit.

The evening started gently, with fruit infused cocktails including, of course, the ubiquitous margarita concocted using Patrón’s Silver tequila. And, to my relief, it was absolutely delicious; pure, tart and refreshing, with plenty of salt around the rim. Encouraged by this, I braved a small amount, straight up. And I can report this is

not your spring break slammer.

Patrón Silver is a citrus fresh spirit, crystal clear with tequila’s distinctive agave notes. Very civilised nibbles included luscious oysters, served as shots with a splendidly fresh salsa and a little Patrón Silver, a succulent start to the evening. Buttery slices of avocado enhanced the Basque-style tapas, known as pinxtos, and they were delicious.

Patrón produces, without any question, the highest quality of tequila available.

Founded in 1989 by John Paul DeJoria who is perhaps best known for another high-profile business venture: John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care along with Martin Crowley, these men were visionaries who wanted tequila they could enjoy drinking.

And in founding the Patrón label, this they have certainly accomplished. A run-through of the tequilas produced by Patrón proved edifying, and by that time I was feeling fully confident and indeed, dare I say, even looking forward to the experience.

Patrón’s Reposado is one of their more popular tequilas, amber in colour, sweeter than the Silver, nuanced with a little more oak that balances nicely with the fresh agave and citrus notes. Patrón’s Añejo is sweeter again, tasting of dried fruits with the fresh tang of citrus, while the dark ochre of the substantial Gran Patrón Burdeos indicates its oak and Bordeaux notes along with the characteristic dried fruit and agave of the spirit.

Of all Patrón’s blends, no doubt their XO Café is one of the best known, and it is, upon first tasting, a dramatic combination of those desirable flavours of tequila, coffee, chocolate and vanilla, making it ideal as an after-dinner drink. So it was a surprise to learn that it was going to be served with the main course, lamb churrasco, instead.

Chef Tomasz Tabor incorporated it into the dish as well as a marinade, thus allowing the lamb to soak in and imbibe its flavours. Coffee, cocoa, tequila and lamb, it turns out, are a wily combination, providing a sensory experience that is new and surprising, though patently hailing from south of the border.

The excitement was also in the serving of this traditionally South American dish, the lamb impaled on a massive sword, used as a skewer, and carved at the table. Dinner had begun with a soup of rare deliciousness. A cool vichyssoise, created from squash and corn along with shrimp albóndigas, was a perfect beginning to a summer evening’s meal. Patrón’s Añejo was served with this, and the honey sweetness along with the notes of fruit and soft spiciness did make this an exceptional pairing.

Ceviche seems only to grow in popularity, but this next course involved a fresh interpretation.

The white marinated fish was served with tacos, Patrón Reposado lime ‘crema’, and paired with Patrón’s Reposado, the dry, smooth agave along with the subtle and sweet nuances of oak making this an inspired combination. Once the swords were sheathed and the lamb course was completed, Gran Patrón Burdeos was poured into our waiting glasses to drink alongside pineapple Crème Catalan.

One of Patrón’s finest tequilas, this is aged in oak wood barrels before it is racked in Bordeaux wine barrels, creating a rich, sweet and very smooth liqueur. It is the way to say to say a graceful ‘buenas noches’.

Latin’s Chef Tomasz, a master of the culinary arts who has delighted many food enthusiasts with his imaginative and superbly executed dishes over several years in Bermuda, created a menu for the evening that was, quite simply, exceptional, showcasing Patrón’s many styles of tequila superbly.

I should not fail to mention, and perhaps it is most important of all, that the following day I felt absolutely fine, with not a trace of a hangover. It was a few days later, toiling on the elliptical machine at the gym whiling away the time reading a magazine that my eye was drawn to an interview with actress Jennifer Aniston of many a romantic comedy fame.

And what was her drink of choice? Tequila, on the rocks, with lime.

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Published September 09, 2011 at 9:11 am (Updated September 09, 2011 at 9:10 am)

Tequila is full of surprises

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