The Patrón Social Club is for those who love all things Patrón tequila. The society offers members special events, exclusive news, unique ways to drink Patrón and more.
One of the most coveted events is the Patrón Secret Society Dinner. The Secret Society Dinner is an exclusive, secret (hence the name) event, with only a handful of lucky society members getting an invite. The events feature Patrón cocktails paired with special menus – all held at breathtaking spaces.
On Friday, the Pursuitist was able to attend one of these exclusive events – The Winter Escape Part II in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Like all the society members, we did not know the location or menu of the event – just the date.
Our adventure began the day before the event as we received an email instructing us to arrive at the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee at 6:30 p.m.
Eager to be part of one of these near-legendary dinners, we did as told – bundling up (it was one of the coldest days of the winter in Milwaukee) and heading to Iron Horse, recently named the best boutique hotel in the US, in downtown Milwaukee. The hotel is well worth a visit, even if you aren’t staying the night. Located near the Harley Davidson museum, the hotel is filled with related memorabilia and has a top notch restaurant and bar.
So, along with a couple of dozen other people, we waited anxiously in the lobby of the Iron Horse, until at about 6:35, when we received a text directing us to board a bus outside the hotel. There was an air of genuine excitement as we exited the hotel.
After a 15 minute ride, the winners and their guests (about 30 of us – ranging in age from the mid-20s to the mid-50s) arrived at our destination – the North Point Lighthouse (the Patrón Secret Society Dinner logo was beamed onto the lighthouse for the evening). The lighthouse is typical of the locations of the Patrón Secret Society events – unique, iconic and totally unexpected. The North Point Lighthouse is not a restaurant, but a museum in a restored lighthouse.
Guests mingled freely with Patrón representatives, the museum staff and other guests. People were eager to talk – and everyone was genuinely excited to be part of such a unique affair. We began with two rounds of cocktails and assorted hors d’oeuvres, including Portabella Medallions and Sweet Potato and Beet Ragu. For the drinks, it became immediately evident we were going to be treated to some unique concoctions. The first was one of the night’s favorites – the Silver Sling – featuring Patrón Silver with a sweet vermouth, cherry bark vanilla bitters and sparkling wine.
At this time we were welcomed by the Patrón representatives. It was short and sweet. What followed next was probably the only ‘advertising’ of the evening – a brief (approximately 10 minutes) video about the heritage of Patrón and the process of making tequila. The video was short enough that it wasn’t intrusive, and quite informative. It really allowed us to appreciate the process of making Patrón tequila and the culture the brand had built.
We were also introduced to our chef, Michael Feker, owner and executive chef of Il Mito in Milwaukee, and the mixoligists for the evening, Ira Koplowitz and Nick Kosevich of Bittercube. We then headed to the dining table.
The dinner was classic and elegant. Each course was accompanied by a special cocktail made to match the food. For each we received a brief explanation from Chef Feker and our mixologists.
The menu consisted of a wonderful squash soup with seared duck breast. A smoked avocado salad, crisp and rich with avocado was next. The entree was a shank of braised lamb – tender and falling off the bone. The evening was completed with a Panna Cotta with coconut brulee.
The mixologists used a variety of Patrón tequilas to enhance each course. Patrón Anejo, Reposado, Citronge and XO Cafe all found their way into the our glasses. The mixture of Patrón Anejo with a warmed apple cider and blackstrap bitters (called ‘Touch of Evil’ by the mixologists) was welcome on the cold evening. The Cubo Amarga, mixing Patron Cafe, Patron Silver, juniper tincture and orange bitters was amazing as it came off with a strong chocolate taste – without using chocolate.
When done, we toured the rest of the lighthouse, before boarding our bus back to the hotel. Patrón representatives repeatedly offered taxi rides home from the hotel to anyone who requested one – a nice touch to finish off the evening.
Patrón has hit upon a wonderful formula with the Secret Dining. The clandestine feel of the evening – through texts and emails – made it an adventure. There was a true sense of discovery and shear fun. The participants all delighted in the unveiling of each new drink or course. Each person came away laughing and smiling. Patrón’s goal was to reward it’s very best fans. They did not try and sell us anything or turn us into a focus group. Instead, they just wanted to celebrate with us. The food was great. The drinks were a joy. The chef and mixologists were engaging and informative. Patrón has done a great job and made all of us brand ambassadors.
Was there anything surprising about the evening? Perhaps the only thing was that there were no martinis or shots of Tequila to be had. Patrón is trying to make people think beyond that stereotype – and, quite frankly, there was so much more to do and experience, it was not missed.
All in all, the Patrón Secret Society Dinner in Milwaukee was a fabulous affair. From the buildup of the event to the actual execution and then to the drinks and food, it was all first class.
Learn about the participants in the Patrón Secret Society Dinner.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.