The ultimate in "Drinking Like A Mermaid" is sipping a delicious, finely crafted cocktail. The drinks listed below are my favourites linked to amazing bars, venues, brands, happenings & events around Auckland & NZ, each with their own recipe slightly adapted to make it easier for you to recreate your own delights at home.
For the full exotically infused experience I recommend you give each of these great venues a visit.
The Cocktail Collective - A cocktail party in a box
Remember the last time you had a cocktail party and it cost you approximately 300 dollars just for the alcohol because you needed 10mls of something in each drink but it came in a litre bottle and two years later you still have half of it left in the cupboard because you have absolutely no idea what else to use it in? Yeah, me too...
Well the team at The Cocktail Collective have the answer to all of your cocktail party problems! They provide everything you need to throw an epic cocktail party with specially made cocktail boxes. Each box contains exactly the right amount of ingredients for you to make either 10 or 15 (depending on which box you choose) cocktails. This is honestly genius & I have no idea why this hasn't happened sooner.
There are 8 different boxes so truly one for everyone's taste, with a price range between $95 & $125 dollars depending on how many serves are included. I chose the Espresso Martini box as this is the cocktail I find hardest to get right at home as I believe you need to have good quality coffee and I am (and sometimes I think the only person in the world who doesn't) not the proud owner of a Nespresso machine. TCC have nailed this cocktail box by collaborating with coffee gurus Altezano Brothers Roastery who have made the cold brew coffee for the box plus it has espresso liqueur & vanilla liqueur to give the cocktail depth of flavour & complexity.
They have made this SO easy and their recipe for the perfect espresso martini is as follows:
Put the following ingredients into your cocktail shaker (shaker not included but you can pick them up pretty cheaply these days)
- 6 parts Vodka (90mls)
- 6 parts Cold Brew Coffee (90mls)
- 2 parts Espresso Liqueur (30mls)
- 2 parts Vanilla Liqueur (30mls)
Add only 4 cubes of ice shake firmly till the ice dissolves and can no longer be heard
Strain into two chlled glasses (this reciepe makes two)
Wait for the foam top to emerge, then pop 3 coffee beans on each cocktail (which are provided) and serve with a dish of chocolate coated coffee beans on the side (which are also provided)
I'm super in love with The Cocktail Collective, its a super compact box, super easy instructions to follow and most importantly SUPER delicious cocktails to enjoy.
Orders for Christmas close on the 15th of December & I have a feeling they are going to sell out of some of these boxes so order now!
Grey Goose Pop Up and Le Fizz
Grey Goose (the luxury French vodka) is having an very cool Pop Up at Custom Lane – Grand Mercure – Customs Street East every night from 3pm for two weeks only - which means you only have one more week to get there as it closes on December 9th.
They have delicious Grey Goose cocktails with the perfect food pairings, there is a crepe cart where you can treat yourself to a nutella crepe (and you should) it has a beautiful Grey Goose swing which you can sit on while sipping on your cocktail and enjoying the fabulousness of the whole situation. DJ Karn Hall will be kicking out the jams from 5pm on Thursday and Friday - what are you waiting for? Get there!
This weeks cocktail is from the cool kids at Grey Goose & it's their iconic Le Fizz which you can make at home with Grey Goose or for the full effect (with cute, but potentially dangerous silver flying goose swizzle stick) go to Custom Lane before next Friday.
Grey Goose Le Fizz
45mls Grey Goose vodka
30mls St. Germain elderflower liqueur
20 mls fresh lime juice
60 mls chilled soda water
Add Grey Goose vodka, St. Germain and lime juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Strain into a chilled flute and top up with soda water.
The Puna Cooler from Mea Culpa, 175 Ponsonby Road, Auckland
Mea Culpa on Ponsonby Road is by far my my favourite cocktail bar in Auckland, it is small but amazing and for those of you who are interested in such things they have an incredible back bar.
Mea's focus is on amazing drinks provide with great service & boy do they nail it every time. I'm really happy to say I don't think I have ever had a negative experience here. Mea change up the cocktails menu every week to keep it fresh but also to focus on seasonal produce and local ingredients, these guys have even been known to forage for the delights hidden around the city (like the Rosemary in this cocktail)
Quality is a key word at Mea Culpa & the bartenders focus on doing the classic cocktails right, but there's no pretension here, they really will make you whatever you want. The staff all regularly enter cocktail comeptions to keep their skills sharp & manger Jeremy was last year's Auckland Bartender of the Year. (Not to shabby at all!)
I had a quick chat with Jeremy & he whipped up this delicious, refreshing spring inspired cocktail in the blink of an eye. It's called the Puna Cooler as Puna means "Spring" in Maori
The Mea Culpa "Puna Cooler"
30mls Beefeater 24 Gin
30mls Grapefruit Juice
10mls Sugar syrup
Shake & strain into a tall glass full of ice
Top with Rose Lemonade (ideally Fentimens - slightly sparking lemonade with rose oil) and use a rosemary & some lemon peel to garnish
Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy!
If you don't feel like making this for yourself then head into Mea Culpa and ask Jeremy or one of his amazing bar team to make it for you or one of their many other amazing cocktail creations!
Bombay Sapphire Botanical Bazaar – The Arancia Spritz
This cocktail is inspired by the The Bombay Sapphire Botanical Bazaar which is happening in Auckland from the November 1st - November 5th at the Fresh Factory. The venue will be turned into an exotic bazaar & five Bombay Sapphire cocktails matched with five internationally inspired dishes.
This food and beverage extravaganza is the brainchild of Bombay Sapphire spirits ambassador, Chase Bickerton, and Jamie Johnston, the man behind pop-up sensation, Judge Bao. Their mission? To Show gin as the versatile and wonderful spirit that it is.
Arancia Spritz (matched with Italian Arancini Balls)
20ml Bombay Sapphire
60ml Pinot Noir Rose
40ml Soda Water
Build in a wine glass with ice garnish with a sprig of rosemary
Tickets for the Bombay Sapphire Botanical Bazaar cost $45 plus booking fee from iTicket, this entry gives you two food tokens plus two drink tokens, but more can be purchased for $14 each either at iTicket, or at the venue. This event is a sell out every year and not one that you want to miss!
Soul Bar - the royal garden
Cocktail of the week - The Royal Garden at Soul Bar, Auckland Viaduct
Traditionally I haven’t been the greatest fan of the viaduct, actually let me rephrase, I haven’t been the greatest fan of the viaduct after dark – during the day nothing can rival the view! I have noticed of late, however, the viaduct has seriously upped its game with the addition of some great new venues such as The Lula Inn, Giraffe & Oyster & Chop. All of which have drawn me back into the azure glow of this central city social hub. The one venue I think, however, that is consistently giving great quality, selection & service in the Viaduct is Soul Bar.
Soul have just launched their new cocktail menu & this week’s cocktail recipe is fresh from the pages of their list (but tweaked just a bit to make it more at-home-mixologist friendly).
Thanks to Scott and the bar team at Soul for showing us to make this super fruity & delicious cocktail at home, but for the full experience (and THAT view) head into Soul to enjoy one of these made by the experts.
30mls Rosemary Infused vodka
30mls Strawberry Puree
15mls Vanilla Sugar Syrup
Top up with Sparkling Wine
Serve in a chilled champagne coup & garnish with a strawberry
Make sure to check out Soul’s Sunday “Punch” – bringing Sunday lunch the party together!
I was lucky enough to be invited to the last Soul Punch in September which with amazing food, Mumm Champagne in abundance, entertainers & an epic DJ is definitely putting the Sinday back in Sunday. Soul Punch is in effect the last Sunday of every month.