Tequila: a spirit so vivacious and charismatic, it’s been immortalised in song by hundreds of artists, from 1950s luminaries The Champs to 1990s booze-hounds TerrorVision.
But, sadly, when it comes to the cocktail-drinking public, they tend to lean heavily – and predictably – toward one area of tequila sups: the dreaded Margarita. Dreaded not for its flavour (sharp and piquant, sweet and cool), but rather its reputation. Like Burberry’s check, its image has been sullied by cut-price knock-offs. Saccharine syrups that bastardise its tang. Jugs of the stuff that drown out any nuance the drink once had.
Which is a crying shame. Spicy, earthy and with hints of caramel sweetness, tequila really is the perfect cocktail companion, its wide-reaching varieties offering mixologists myriad flavour combinations to play with. And there are some killer tequila cocktails out there: the tequila sour, the El Niño. And now, thanks to Karine Tillard, Patrón Brand Ambassador, the tequila Manhattan.
The Manhattan is the all-time classic cocktail. A fusion of rye whisky with sharp bitters and sweet vermouth, it was invented around 1860 and has popped in and out of fashion, driven by society’s on/off relationship with whisky. Our current love affair with the brown stuff has made it particularly popular, but also particularly overplayed. Here, Tillard adds a modern twist, subbing in aged tequila instead.
“The oaky aroma and smoky notes in the Patrón Añejo tequila make it the perfect substitute for whisky,” she says. “It is full bodied, with touch of sweetness and spice, and it makes a great alternative for people who would avoid whisky cocktails.”
But as with all great combinations, it’s about striking just the right balance. “The tequila should be the star, but not overpower the rest of the components,” says Tillard. “The sweet vermouth balances out the angostura bitters, and the bitters balance out the sweetness of the vermouth.”
The warmth of the bitters and the smokiness of the tequila make this a really comforting drink, perfect for cosy autumnal evenings. But make no mistake: this an elegant, sophisticated, straight up serve. So put the jugs away.
Patrón Añejo Manhattan (Serves 2)
80ml Patrón Añejo tequila
40ml of sweet vermouth
2 dashes of angostura bitters
Chilled Martini glass
Grated orange zest, to garnish
“All Patrón tequilas are handmade in small batches using only the finest 100% Weber blue agave. Aged for over 12 months and carefully blended to produce a smooth and distinctive-tasting tequila, Patrón Añejo has an oaky aroma and taste, with caramel and smoky notes to finish.”
- Add the tequila, vermouth and bitters to a cocktail shaker and stir well until completely combined.
- Using a small strainer, strain into the chilled Martini glass.
- Garnish with grated orange zest and serve.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“If money is no object, switch out the Patrón Añejo for the exquisite Gran Patrón Piedra. It’s otherworldly. Also, if you’re an on-the-rocks kinda person, add some cubed ice to a chilled rocks glass, strain in the cocktail and serve.”