This article is part of a series highlighting the importance of authentic tequila, partnered by PATRÓN. Discover more at The World of PATRÓN.
When New York native Alli Torres was first introduced to the hospitality industry, she was skeptical of the future it would bring. But a decade, many bartending positions, and plenty of accolades later, Torres couldn’t think of a better, more fulfilling path.
This journey led her to become the GM and managing partner at Freehold Miami, an offshoot of Freehold Brooklyn. Through the years, Torres has garnered much recognition in the industry with honors such as being nominated by Slow & Low as one of the top 10 women in whiskey, as well as her shared award for Best New Venue with “Top Chef” contestant Rich Sweeney at Florent Restaurant & Bar in New York, NY. Now, with Torres immersed in the vibrant, classic culture of the southeastern coast, she finds boundless inspiration in her cocktail experimentation at Freehold.
Below, Torres shares the importance of passion and why she chooses Simply Perfect PATRÓN® Tequila to create her favorite cocktails.
When I was 15, I began working as a barista in a coffee shop — I owe a lot to that job. It taught me how to be regimented and to multitask volume. It also introduced me to a ton of new flavor profiles and helped unlock notes I’d use later on when discussing wine and spirits. This wasn’t my first choice of career, but the love of hospitality and education overwhelmed me in such a positive way, I can’t think of another life.
If you don’t have passion, the rest of it gets lost. I can train myself to wake up at 8 a.m. every morning and get ready for work, but I can’t trick my brain into loving what I do. You’re all the way in, or you’re out. Because of that, dedication comes into play and allows for the vision of how you want yourself and your cocktails to be perceived. This job isn’t easy, no career is — but you have to love it wholeheartedly if that’s what your brand is to the world.
The most important part of the job is cultivating the love of the game for the next generation. Every day that I can teach the new bartenders something that will help them grow, I’m fulfilled. Watching the excitement in their eyes when they successfully double shake for the first time or free pour to perfection — it’s what makes the long days worth it.
“Handcrafted” doesn’t necessarily mean making the drink last minute to me. In my program, we batch a lot of our drinks to ensure consistency. This doesn’t detract from the handcrafted nature of it; it actually allows for a better end product. Batch days in our house are the most important shift of the week because if the batch is off, the drink is thrown, and the experience is already tainted. It’s the time and calculation that allows us to be at the same level of quality on a Tuesday afternoon or a Friday late at night.
Nowadays, there are so many products on the market that are filled with additives, and they detract from the importance of tequila’s history and process. I love using PATRÓN® for my cocktails because it honors the history and the flavor speaks for itself. Personally, I cannot get enough of Oaxacan Old Fashioneds made with PATRÓN. It’s so well-balanced and simple.
I truly believe the cleaner the products, the better the end result. I’m not really on board with masquerading the spirit’s true flavor with a bunch of sugary additives. Instead, I’d like to accentuate the notes that are already in the bottle. Like with PATRÓN, less will always be more.
As a host, Simply Perfect means that energy is the answer. This game, bartending, teaches you how to set the room. Meaning lights, temperature, and ambiance are more important than which vodka we serve. However, the people that are in that room dictate the whole experience. We all work so hard every day just to make it through. Simply Perfect happens when it all comes together. It’s the definition of balance — in the glass, in the conversation, in the laughter.
The theme I’m trying to embody (along with my own personal style) is the importance of age and process while highlighting what Añejo is. I’ve landed on Poire No. 14, a nod to the 14th card in the tarot deck, that of the Temperance. It signifies the gentle female power in a world of forge and pressure. It’s a reminder to stay patient and on track, much like the process of making PATRÓN Añejo. It cannot be rushed — it has to be rested and aged or it won’t be as beautiful.
Try Allie’s Poire No. 14 Cocktail
- 2 ounces PATRÓN Añejo
- ¾ ounce caramelized pear reduction
- ¾ Meyer lemon juice
- ½ ounce St. Germain
- ¼ ounce chamomile coriander syrup
- ¼ ounce allspice
- sherry, to top
- Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake.
- Fill glass with crushed ice and pour mixture in, leaving room for sherry.
- Bar spoon float sherry on top.
This article is sponsored by PATRÓN.