A Mexican walks into a bar. Well not exactly, because the kind of person who raises a toast on July 24, also known as National Tequila Day, isn't a questionable stereotype from '50s cinema. The rough and ready reputation of tequila has undergone a salt-rimmed shakedown, luring in a new kind of drinker.
According to Patron ambassador Alejandro Archibald, we can thank the Golden Age of Mexican cinema for giving us a tequila trope he'd rather forget.
"These cinema cowboys made tequila look like a rough and tumble spirit, it's hardly got that reputation now," says Archibald.
The millionaire's tipple
Now, instead of downing tequila shots at the bar, you can pair it with food at Bar Patron in Sydney for $120 per person (think Patron Roca, Silver, Reposado and Anjeo) or opt for a front row seat with the Millionaire's margarita. At $100 a glass, you're treated like a rock star if you're willing to pay for it.
Patrón Gran Burdeos Extra Añejo Tequila (which is aged in Premier Cru Bordeaux barrels) is combined with 150-year old Grand Marnier Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire and the king of cognac Remy Martin Louis XIII himself comes in for the final stir. The margarita is double strained over an ice sphere, adored with gold leaf and freckles of native finger-lime pearls are nitro blasted for some weird science.
"Tequila is super versatile," says Archibald who is trying to educate cocktail lovers about the diversity of the drop.
"You can make a tequila spritz, serve it with tonic as a substitute for a gin and tonic," he says.
In the spirit of flavour
Archibald says you can show off your food pairing knowledge with friends when team a Reposada with a pork dish – a match made in taco heaven.
He'll be in Melbourne for National Tequila Day, toasting the 100 per cent agave spirit at the tequila cocktail and Mexican food feast at Benzina Cantina.
For $75 per person, you can speed date with tequila and get to know it better while Archibald guides you in through the 101s. Cocktails doing the rounds on the night include the Patronic and Patron Anejo old-fashioned for die-hard fans.
Drip by drip
At Grand Lafayette in Prahran, co-owners Solar Liang and Monique Wu are toasting the National Day with a cocktail that comes with its own drip-feeding bag. No need to call the nurse in just yet, they're smoking their tequila with Applewood in a bid to be the most Instagrammed tequila cocktail on the day.
"Drip feeding yourself is a fun way to enjoy tequila," says Liang.
"Customers are always looking for new ways to embrace a trend and to show their friends they've discovered something new. We also tried infusing gin and rum but this works best with tequila and will keep it on the menu."
Aplomb at Bomba
The newly opened Daughter in Law in Melbourne is spicing up a margarita with jalapenos for the day while Bomba Rooftop Bar will showcase three forgotten classics to remind us why tequila should never be overlooked.
The classic Toreador – a drink that first appeared in W J Tarling's Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937 and created as a twist on the margarita makes a guest appearance. Here it comes with apricot brandy and lime while Two Step combines strawberries, the Italian sweet wine Cocchi Americano, lemon and sugar to hit the sweet spot.
"We want to show the versatility of drinking tequila by bringing back some of these forgotten classics," says Rachael Hand from Bomba.
"It's about showing people there's many ways to enjoy tequila, and a great way to appreciate it is on its National Day is as a cocktail of course."