Roca Patron tequila launch party was a night to remember, and I barely did
Ain’t no party like a Patron tequila party because a Patron tequila party don’t stop! At least until 9:30 when you realize you’re in a history museum and you’ve run out of booze.
That’s what happened last night when I went to the launch of Roca Patron, a new lineup of tequila from the first brand off every 21 year-old’s tongue when you say “premium tequila.” Because I’ve positioned myself and an important member of the beer and spirits media, I frequently get invited to this sort of soiree. It’s all a sham, but one that I’m happy to purport.
It’s my final weekend in Chicago before moving to LA to become a YouTube celebrity living in a box (refrigerator, because I’m keeping up with the Homeless Joneses), so the timing of the Roca Patron party couldn’t have worked out better. My weekend had already begun, aside from now writing this column with a hangover so intense if feels like one particular member of the brute squad cartoonishly pounded my head until I was buried up to my neck. That meant that any semblance of responsibility was out the window. My late grandfather once told me, “You can’t drink all the alcohol in the bar, so don’t try.” Apologies, grandpa, but I’m damn sure going to try. I accomplished that feat at a Mexican Hooters once, so why not the the Chicago History Museum?
The first things I noticed when arriving at this party was that the caterers had no idea how to make a drink, and holy shit from where did all these women come? I don’t fancy myself a socialite, and I suppose this sort of classy party falls into their calender of events, but I never expected to see what you might call a bevy of beauties wandering around sipping cocktails. This wasn’t Comic-Con either where they pay sexy minxes to dress up in costume and pretend like that’s the standard for nirls (nerd-girls). These were just normal women who happened to be extremely attractive and favor tight dresses and cleavage from all angles.
I’m here for the tequila though, so it’s my job to drink responsibly (meaning try everything they’ll put in a glass at least once). I met my contact and mentioned that the bartender made me a 5 ingredient cocktail that only included one ingredient and a garnish. Thankfully she would point out that they were just the caterers helping to keep drinks in people’s hands and that I should really check out the local bartenders’ stands and the tequila spigots. Wait, what?
That’s right, Patron was pouring tequila straight from spigots below fake barrels. No lines; no shaking; no salting or any other nonsense. It was just a champagne glass with a few ounces of tequila. Now this is how you drink! It’s also how I’m going to quickly gain the courage to go ask one of those ladies I saw before if she wants to come back to my air mattress.
I went straight to the Roca Patron Silver, as I always start with the unaged stuff when I’m actually drinking to taste instead of drinking to intoxicate. The original Patron Silver leads with some citrus until the peppery kick for which the entire standard Patron line is known. Roca Silver is entirely different. It’s all agave all the time, both fresh and roasted. Not sure what that tastes like? Liquid heaven. Real people don’t drink tequila to get on tables. They drink it because agave is delicious. Of course Roca Silver will definitely have you doing the Mexican Hat Dance on a table because it’s an astonishing 90-proof. That 5% higher than almost every other tequila on Earth. You wouldn’t know it though, which will be entertainingly dangerous as I stock one of these bottles for pre-partying.
Refill time! The next logical step was the Roca Patron Reposado. Again it’s a more subtle version of the standard Patron Reposado, and as good as it was, the difference didn’t stand out as much as the Silver did. I know you only want to read so many words, and I’m already at 686, so let’s skip to the Anejo, which has a tilde somewhere that I’m too lazy to find.
Contrary to what you’d think, they actually gave me the biggest pour of the most expensive tequila. They must have sensed that I’m a man who loves his 14 month-old spirits, and they were right. Roca Patron Anejo is absolutely delicious. I’m not saying that because I was 10 ounces of tequila in at this point either. There’s plenty of agave, again that’s the whole point, but the time in the barrel brings in plenty of other flavors like vanilla, caramel, and all the other things we booze scribes say when something is aged in a barrel. There were also whispers of cinnamon, much like a quiet rumor before an applesauce wrestling match that may or may not have taken place in Ann Arbor, MI.
While walking around sipping my 2nd glass full of $90/bottle Roca Patron Anejo, a woman asked me where I got the champagne. Clearly it was an opening line, but I had completely forgotten I was drinking from a champagne glass and answered the question for real instead of realizing she knew there was no bubbly in the house. Strong play, Colin. I redeemed myself when a tasty young biscuit in a tight white dress asked, this time in all seriousness, “You seem like you know what you’re doing here, why is this stuff called “Roca Patron?”
While I’ll never claim to know what I’m doing, I did have the answer to this particular question. Roca Patron is made using 100% tahona method tequila. That is, the agave used to make the tequila is all crushed under two-ton piece of volcanic rock to extract the juices rather than on a roller mill. Roca… Rock… see what they did there? Sure it costs significantly more to produce, but the smashed fibers provide even more great agave flavor, which is the entire point of this line.
White dress was just using me for my wealth of knowledge, so unfortunately it was just back to drinking after that. I tried all of the cocktails, most of which were tremendous but way out of the home mixologist’s tahonahouse. The night ended with me drinking directly from the spigot while the hired help looked on in horror. Don’t think me a terrible person (even though I am); I heard the mixmaster say that it was gone. The pipe was dribbling like a guy who gave it one too few shakes, so there was no risk of taking a tequila shot to the eye.
It was at this point that the booze had run dry and the bartenders were heading home. I attempted to take in some history – I was at a museum after all – but apparently the wobble-walk is a dead giveaway to security that I shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the holy mold of Abraham Lincoln’s head. I woke up this morning longing for more Roca Patron and a phone number in my pocket. That might be the best thing that could ever be said about a spirit. Most people “had a bad experience with tequila” and now refuse to drink it. I had a great, albeit head-pounding experience, with Roca Patron, and I’m dying to drink it again. I wonder if they have any down at the Museum of Science and Industry.
*Disclaimer – tap drinking photo was actually after hours. P-Tron wouldn’t let me do that during the event.
There was no good place to put this photo, but it had to be shared. This guy is my hero for rocking a tremendous outfit to a business casual event. Perhaps his business IS casual.