Tommy's margarita

Tommy’s Margarita creator reveals the secrets to its success

October 7, 2019
By Alana House

Excitement is building for the final of 2019 Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition next week, featuring Tommy’s margarita creator Julio Bermejo as guest judge.

The regional heats will be held in NSW and South Australia in the coming weeks. The five victors will then compete at the Australian and New Zealand Final in Melbourne on October 15.

The winner will travel to Hacienda Patrón in Mexico in 2020 to compete in the Global Patrón Perfectionists Competition.

Bermejo is a San Francisco native, highly regarded tequila expert and the long-standing beverage manager at Tommy’s restaurant, which was named one of the World’s Top 50 Bars in the World in 2015 by Drinks International of London.

We asked him to reveal the secrets behind the global success of Tommy’s Margarita, which was inspired by being introduced to 100% blue agave tequila in 1989.

The experience blew his mind and led him to go to Mexico to visit tequila distilleries and learn more about the spirit. He gradually turned Tommy’s into a bar that only stocks 100% agave tequilas.

Tommy's margarita

What inspired you to develop the Tommy’s Margarita?

I wanted to drink a margarita where I could taste and distinguish the 100% agave tequila used in the cocktail.

What is the secret to the perfect Tommy’s Margarita?

The secret is that it is a plug-in recipe. If you use mediocre tequila it will taste mediocre. However, if you use a high standard 100% agave tequila like Patrón, you’ll taste and enjoy the agave and fresh lime.

Can you explain the difference in taste between it and the original margarita?

The main difference is that the Tommy’s margarita uses agave nectar instead of the usual triple sec as well as the proportion of the recipe, which is 2-1-1 … Two parts is 100% agave tequila (I recommend Patrón Silver), one-part fresh hand squeezed seedless Persian lime juice and one part of agave fructose cut 1-1 with purified water. This way, the agave flavours are enhanced.

How did the Tommy’s Margarita become famous?

At first, the fame was spread by renowned bartenders, Dre Masso and Henry Besant, who took the Tommy’s margarita around the world, when they consulted for bars, they would teach the cocktail and tell them it was the margarita served at Tommy’s. Since then, bartenders adapted the recipe and put it on their lists in every corner of the globe.

How many Tommy’s Margarita’s does your bar sell each week?

My accountant tells me never to divulge this, but rather when someone asks us how many limes we squeeze or bottles of tequila we sell, my response should be all of them! Unlike other niche spirit bars, Tommy’s Bar sells approximately 95% of 100% agave tequila cocktails and of that amount, 75% are Tommy’s margaritas, which provides you a good indication on how many we sell a week!

Has it been exciting to watch the evolution of tequila to a premium spirit?

It has been exciting to see tequila get the respect it deserves. However, there have been pitfalls as many producers have had to change their quality to meet the pent-up demand. Luckily, we are fortunate to still have access to brands that haven’t done this, such as Patrón Tequila.

Are you looking forward to judging the Australian final of 2019 Patron Perfectionists?

I am very much looking forward to it as I’ll get to meet six talented and inspiring bartenders create something incredible that are just as passionate about agave as I am. Hopefully I inspire them too!

What else are you looking forward to doing in Australia?

I love Australia! I haven’t been in a few years and cannot wait to be involved in the judging of the Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition in Melbourne, it’s going to be great to meet all the new bartenders. Australia has had its fair share of top 50 bars and I hope I can revisit as many as possible during my visit and of course see some of the old guard as well.

Do you have any tips on the best places to try a Tommy’s Margarita in Australia?

I sure do, I would recommend ordering a Patron Tommy’s margarita at Bar Patrón, 11 Rooftop, Riverbar, Miss Margarita and Mrs Collins. I can’t wait to get down there to find out some other great bars!

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