World's 50 Best Bars Brands Report: Tequila

On day six of the Brands Report, a spin-off survey from The World's 50 Best Bars, we polled bartenders on the subject of tequila. 

Question: Who said: “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor?” It was author George Carlin. If
he were alive now, we wonder what he would make of all the fuss around 100% agave tequilas and the nowestablished mantra that tequila can be for sipping rather than shooting? 

US heavyweight Patrón looks healthy on both lists and this is arguably testament to its refusal to give up its high-end status, even during the world’s ongoing fi nancial woes. It’s no surprise to see Cuervo as the best-seller. It’s the tequila everyone knows. So let’s take a closer look at some we might not be so familiar with. 

Ocho – well that’s tequila supremo Tomas Estes’ tequila. It’s made on a single estate and aims to demonstrate that terroir exists in agave growing. The year of production also appears onthe bottle. It’s a very far cry from salt, lemon and a shot of mixto.

How about Calle 23? It’s made from blue agaves from the Los Altos de Jalisco – a higher area said to produce richer, higher-quality agave. Next, let’s have a look at Tapatio – which is a Mexican word referring to a man from Jalisco, according to Tapatio’s agency Speciality Brands. It is actually made at the same distillery as Estes’ Ocho.

We like the sound of Tapatio’s Reservas de la Excelencia – an anejo tequila previously reserved only for the friends and family of the distillers. Reservas de la Excelencia is aged for around four years in new French oak.
That’s definitely not for shooting.

Espolon – hanging on in 10th position in the best-selling tequila list in The World’s 50 Best Bars Brands Report – claims to take more time over its production than many others on the market. The piñas are cooked for 18-20 hours, versus an industry average of 12, according to the brand. The distilling process also takes 5.5 hours – compared to 3.5 for some producers. And yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s 100% blue agave.

So, perhaps if Carlin was around now and sipping tequila in some of the world’s best bars, he might change his mind to: “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila... more.”

How we did it

Since we relaunched the World’s 50 Best Bars, we think we’ve built up a pretty fantastic list of top bars and phenomenal bartenders from all over the world.

To create an even better global picture, we also polled 100 of the top 200 bars. When I say ‘we’, it was actually an independent research company called Leslie Henry Marketing & Research.

It’s still growing, make no mistake – and we feel really quite excited about it. So excited in fact, that this year we decided to reinvent the way we conduct the artist formerly known as Hot Bar Brands by polling our very own top 50. 

Voices from the team at Leslie Henry could be heard through telephone receivers from Melbourne to Budapest, Edinburgh to Singapore. The team asked the top bars which brands were best-sellers and which were – to borrow from Twitter – trending. 

A trending brand might not be doing the same volumes as a best-seller but it’s a brand that customers are increasingly asking for. We also included a couple of new categories this year – champagne and water – as well as expanding the cocktail questions to include the likes of aperitifs and after-dinner drinks. The idea is to paint as accurate a picture of what is being consumed in bars around the world as possible. 

Respondents – to use the fancy terminology – included bar owners and bartenders from the likes of the best bar in the world, the Artesian, London; PDT, New York; Nightjar, London; Bramble, Edinburgh: Employees Only, New York; Dry Martini, Barcelona; Black Pearl, Melbourne; Asoka, Cape Town; American Bar at the Savoy, London; Tippling Club, Singapore; Palmer & Co, Sydney; Boutiq Bar, Budapest; Chainaya Tea & Cocktails, Russia and Schumann’s Bar, Munich.

Let us know what you think of the survey: