In Food + Drink

Bar Patrón’s Millionaire’s Margarita Sells For $100. Is It Worth It?

What a coup for Sydney to score the first ever Patrón Tequila venue. Rather New York, London or the obvious choice of Mexico, the powers that be selected Sydney as the first outpost for a Bar Patrón.

It wasn’t so much chance as fate, says Neil Perry, who will debut Bar Patrón as the latest edition to Rockpool Dining Group’s rapidly expanding portfolio on Thursday, March 8. The Patrón-Perry relationship was cemented when the brand and chef collaborated to host an after-party for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2017.

“They originally wanted to do a taco truck, but in New South Wales, it would just be impossible to do a truck with a licence to pour tequila,” Perry says.

Instead, they’ve turned the old Bistro Ananas (formerly Cafe Nice) site into a gorgeous hacienda-inspired almost-waterfront bar. And we’re pretty sure there’ll be no complaints.

While there is a full menu and dining area, it’s hard to get past the impressive oversized Carrara marble bar which looks out to the Harbour Bridge. Stacked with Patrón Tequila, the bar offers a fun mix of tequila-based cocktails- a horchata colada, or Negroni-ish negrita – and top shelf Patrón, including the extremely rare Lalique Serie 2 (one of only 299 bottles worldwide, and $990 per nip).

The classic margarita – with a little sherbet sparkle – is made on a choice of Silver, Reposado and Añejo tequila, but ballers will struggle to ignore the Millionaire’s Margarita ($100).

“I totally envisage tables of people ordering these after they’ve closed a big deal, and maybe racking up a $70 food bill with a $600 drinks bill,” says Perry.

The burning question is: what makes a margarita that exxy? Rockpool Group’s national bar manager Ryan Gavin was kind enough to fill us in.

“We wanted to create a very luxurious, opulent cocktail that highlights what Patrón  is all about,” Gavin says.

Firstly, the very suave tequila trolley will roll up table side, where a very able bartender will assemble their equipment. Native Australian finger lime pearls are deployed to the base of coupe glass, and blasted with liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze. A perfect sphere of ice is placed on top.

Then, into a cocktail shaker goes: agave nectar, freshly pressed lime juice and 30ml of Grand Marnier Cuvee Special Cent Cinquantenaire – “Very rich, very rare,” says Gavin – and the star ingredient, a generous pour and a half of Patron Gran Burdeos.

The top shelf liquor – which goes for $95 a nip on its own – is an extra añejo tequila double-distilled in premier cru Bordeaux oak and cognac barrels to produce a rich, deeply coloured tequila with an ultra-smooth finish.

Shaken hard with ice, double-strained over the sphere and finished with a little spritz of Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, the cocktail gets a final flourish of delicate edible golf leaf.

Think of a traditional Tommy’s Margarita, then kick up the creaminess, and add a deeply rich, semi-sweet element enhanced by the cognac mist – totally decadent, very delicious. The finger lime wakes up from the deep freeze and re-hydrates, giving each sip a pop of flavour.

If you have a taste for top shelf tequila, the Black Magic Woman ($35) sees Roca Añejo stirred and smoked with sweet vermouth, agave and bitters, while the Des Passito ($22) – served in a Passinoa can – is pure fun, with lychee, Campari and reposado.

With cocktails this strong, you’re going to want snacks. Chef Pamela Valdes, originally from Mexico’s Veracruz, has crafted an authentic Mexican menu based heavily on her grandma’s recipes.

Corn chips come with a great range of salsas – pineapple habanero, chilotomate, chile seco and adobe – and guacamole hand-pounded to order.

Fried flathead tacos are seriously good, too, or go large with the grilled skirt steak with red rice and refried beans ready to load into hand-made corn tortillas.

Published 07 March, 2018