Lauren Mote on her global bartender advocacy job, and tips for Patrón Perfectionists

Lauren Mote talks education, her journey, and tips for winning Patrón Perfectionists.

Lauren Mote on her global bartender advocacy job, and tips for Patrón Perfectionists

You can listen to this episode in the You can listen to this episode in the player here, or take a listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and on Android.

Cocktail competitions: many of the bartenders I’ve spoken to for Drinks At Work over the last 24 episodes have used them to further their careers — for some, it’s a fun way to get creative behind the bar, for others the opportunity to travel and get to meet other bartenders is the aim, or perhaps it’s a chance to hone one’s presenting skills. Some people do it just because it’s a good time with other bartenders.

But the emphasis on cocktail comps is something of an odd quirk of the bartending world. This kind of industry comp doesn't happen so often elsewhere — maybe there are accounting comps for bean counters, but I haven’t heard of them, and if they do they certainly don’t have the global reach of programs like Patrón Perfectionists.

Which is my way of saying that in this week’s instalment of Drinks At Work, we’ve partnered with Patrón Perfectionists to talk to Lauren Mote, whose job title is Global Director of On-Trade Excellence. It’s a big title, and a big gig, so I’ve asked Mote to talk a little about what she does day to day in the role, and how she came to be in the job, as well as the changes they’ve made to the Patrón Perfectionists program this year, and her advice for bartenders preparing to enter the competition. As usual, I’ve pulled a few highlights from our conversation — lightly edited and condensed for clarity — below, but I encourage you to give the full show a listen. She’s a smart and experienced bartender with a unique, challenging role that is like few other gigs in the world of drinks.

The Patrón Perfectionists Global Cocktail Competition is back, bringing a new bartender education and engagement program to the heart of this year’s edition.

The entry challenge, called Hometown Hero, asks entrants to develop a cocktail that blends Patrón Silver tequila with the bartender’s local culture, using ingredients from a prescribed list, the Pantry. The initial entry submissions will be judged on appeal, appearance, inspiration, and originality.

Australian bartenders have the opportunity to enter Patrón Perfectionists until 11:59pm AEDT on October 7 2022. Head to the entry portal for all the information and to submit yours today.
Lauren Mote is the Global Director of On-Trade Excellence for Patrón Tequila. Photo: Supplied
Lauren Mote is the Global Director of On-Trade Excellence for Patrón Tequila. Photo: Supplied

Highlights from the conversation

“So as soon as I could start mixing with spirits and different ingredients in 2000, there was no stopping me, I was really excited to just blend flavours together,” Mote says.

It was the early days of the craft cocktail revival in Canada, but Mote was able to combine a love of working with ingredients and creating flavour — like a chef — with the interaction that can only come from being in the front of house.

“I love the stage of being behind the bar,” she says, “seeing the guest’s instant reaction as well when they would sip a drink rather than when you’re a chef — because I really wanted to be a chef in the beginning. You’d have to be waiting for someone to come back to the kitchen and tell you what the guests thought, you wouldn’t get that instant reaction, which I think is what bartenders really love as well.”

Given that Mote’s role today — and for much of the last decade — has been to interact with and create educational programs for bartenders from all stripes of venue, it likely doesn’t hurt that she has a broad base of extensive experience.

“Over the over the years, I had worked in small dive bars, neighbourhood mom and pop shops, and then worked into fine dining restaurants, fine dining bars, [with] really intense, well-curated bartender programs, which at the time when it was centred around wine, beer, and really nothing else in Canada, it was interesting to have philosophies attached to cocktail lists and spirit programs,” she says.

“And then quite a lot of my the later part of My bartending career probably from 2007 to 2015, was spent just working on multiple units or multiple outlets. And that would include like the four seasons, or managing multiple bars from different owners at the same time.”

Mote walked us through the ways in which Patrón Perfectionists differs this year, not just from other competitions, but in the ways they’ve refreshed the competition. Key to that is education, but not just on agave and Patrón itself — rather, they’re aiming to give bartenders a broader set of knowledge and skills, and weaving in the brand chat along the way.

“I think, as all bartenders listening in will know, that sometimes we look longingly through the windows, rubbing the fog off the window, staring into bars that have a rotovap, they have a centrifuge, they’ve got all the bells and whistles,” she says. “Like how were they able to spend, you know, 10 grand on all this cool equipment?

“So [the] Mastering The Elements [module] is about understanding how we bloom and extract flavours, how we do that traditionally using these really expensive pieces of equipment, but then how we find the discount version of that to still create that same level of flavour. And so I think we have about 15 different recommendations, and then [we talk about] building a bar lab for under 100 bucks.”

Mote also shared some advice for bartenders wanting to enter the competition this year. The big piece of advice? Read the brief.

“Read the brief, and then read it like five times, and then have someone else read it and then tell you what they think it means,” says Mote.

You need to think about what you’re going to put together so that you can actually make an impression on the judges.

“But all that aside,” Mote says, “asking [Australian brand ambassador] Joey [Chisholm] if you have any questions, jumping into any of our Academia Patrón social channels and asking questions, [or] when you sign up with your bartender profile on the website, there’s also an email there that you can ask questions. So don’t leave everything until the last minute, just get in now and start thinking about it and consider how you would how you would bring this serve to life if given the opportunity to present it live in front of judges.

“Do not leave everything until the last minute.”

Prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance, right?


Entries into Patrón Perfectionists close 11:59pm October 7 2022. Head to the entry portal at for more information, to fill out your bartender profile — and read the brief.