Eatnorth caught up with Joe Wild from El Bandito (Liverpool) – North England’s regional finalist Patrón Perfectionist’s Cocktail Competition ahead of the UK grand final taking place in London on 16 November 2016 at the lucky Pig, London.
FROM hundreds who entered this year’s Patrón Perfectionist’s Cocktail Competition, only a handful were selected to go through to one of the five regional finals where they were challenged to invent and present a Patrón Tequila cocktail worthy of a ‘Perfectionist.’
The winner will win an all expenses trip to the Hacienda Patron, – Patrón Tequila’s stunning distillery in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.
The winning cocktail will also feature as a limited-edition special serve at the winner’s bar. Competition for the prize is fierce…Wild will be competing against regional winners, including Steve Young from Pier64 in Penarth (near Cardiff), who was crowned winner of the Southern Regional Final; Matyáš Bušek from Mr Fogg’s Residence in London and Raffaele Di Monaco from Park Chinois in London and Scottish finalist Mike McGinty, from Big Red Teapot’s soon-to-open Edinburgh bar The Voyage of Buck. Read about him here.
Launched in the UK last year, Patrón Perfectionist’s Cocktail Competition has expanded to an international level for 2016; with bartenders in Mexico, Australia, UAE, France, Spain and Italy also on the search to find their own local Patrón Perfectionist. All the winners will meet at the Hacienda in January where they will then compete in the Grand Final.
Judges at the regional finalist event, held at Mr Cooper’s House and Garden, Manchester, described his winning cocktail – Spirit of Sustainability (Patrón Silver, orange liqueur, lime juice, bee pollen infused agave, orange blossom water) – as long, light and refreshing.
Q.What got you into bartending?
Growing up in North Wales, there is a job boom every summer because of tourism. When I was 16, I was an electrical apprentice and got an extra job pouring pints at a caravan site.
Q. Were your family supportive of your career choice?
I am very lucky to have a super supportive mother: as long as I am happy she is happy.
Q. Where did you grow up? If not Liverpool, then how did you end up there?
I grew up in Rhyl (North Wales). I left at 19 years old to move to Leeds. Worked in bars and retail for three years before moving to Liverpool because of a relationship.
Q. What was your inspiration behind Spirit of Sustainability?
The inspiration was quite simple, Patrón’s forward-thinking approach to sustainability. Their approach in using only recycled glass for the bottles or their approach to using waste at their distillery in Mexico, Hacienda.
Q. How did you feel when they announced the regional winner?
It’s a great achievement and I am very proud to represent my community at the final. Also, Patrón is a brand I have loved for a long time so this win meant a lot to me.
Q. What would it mean to you to win the UK grand final or even the world grand final?
I don’t really want to think about it! I will jinx myself as it would mean a hell of a lot to me! As far as the world final, let’s do the UK one first!
Q. Have you ever been in a situation where customers bring up tricky drinks for you to make?
All the time…everyone knows what they want and they wanted it 10mins ago!
Q. What’s the best and worst job you have ever had?
Best job…bar tending!
Worst job…I worked an afternoon in a change booth in an arcade.
Q. What are your personal aspirations?
My personal aspiration is to own a fleet of bars. But I am keeping my cards close to my chest on that one!
Q. What bugs you the most in the bartending/ mixologist world?
People calling bartenders mixologists – it’s the same as the guys who work in subway being called sandwich engineers! We don’t need a fancy made up name. I am a bartender.
Q. How is your personality reflected in your business?
In the style in which I present my drinks, interact with my guests and talk to my fellow bartenders.
Q. Who was/is your mentor?
There’s not one single mentor, I have been very lucky to have worked under some amazing operators and been trained by some of the world’s best.
Q. Describe your idea of the perfect cocktail experience.
Me…friends and good times.
Q. What do you consider to be one of your most important learning experiences (a career-altering moment, so to speak)?
Understanding how your body language and communication can affect people and situations. Plus learning how to use it to for the best outcome.
Q. Do you have any tips for anyone considering becoming a bartender? What advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
My tips would be to listen more, however, telling any young 20-something bartender to listen is a nightmare, especially me when I was that age. I would tell my younger self to take more advice given.
Q. What’s your view of the Northern UK bar scene at the moment and what do you think the future holds?
The future is massive. I have seen a HUGE change in the past five years alone…Liverpool is now coming up to the standards that Manchester and Leeds have had for a while now. Now, I feel, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds have become a stronger unit, which can be a great thing for the northern scene. Also, a lot of smaller towns have some great bars – Chester and York, for example.
Q. And for the industry overall?
The UK scene has always been a forward-thinking one, just look at any awards – the UK always steals the show.
Q. Which ingredients do you always keep in your bar and what is your go-to spirit?
My go-to is Patrón Silver. It’s incredible. Also, rosewater is an ingredient I love working with.
Q. What differentiates an experienced bartender from a mixologist?
An experienced bartender can make their drinks to a high standard, whilst keeping control of the whole room (understanding their guests’ needs and demands). A mixologist will live stream his cocktail to the world.
Q. Do you like to cook?
All the time! I love making pies from scratch, baking and I talk to my chef friends all the time and get tips for the next meal I am going to make.
Q. If you were to recommend four ‘hidden food and drink gems’ to visit in Liverpool, where would you choose?
- Maray – food is incredible
- Filter and fox – cocktails, coffee & great hospitality
- Tokyou – great Chinese good incredible cheap huge portions and cheap beer
- The brink – a charity run place for people with ex-addiction problems getting back into work with the best burgers in town
Q. Who would you most like to dine with from within the hospitality industry and what would be your ideal food and drink?
This is a hard one. It would probably be Jamie Oliver, Paul Hollywood & Ada Coleman. We would have domino’s pizza and a bottle of Patrón Añejo.
Q. In your opinion, what are the best food and beverage parings?
Pizza and beer!
Q. What do you do when you’re not working – hobbies/interests?
I like to cook, ride one of the city bikes that are all over Liverpool and sleep!
Q. And.. finally… comfort food and drink?
It has to be green tea and one of my mum’s homemade toad in the holes with mash, gravy and stuffing.