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.
Parasol & Swing Viaduct - The Musket Trader
In the 18th Century bartenders who traveled the world discovering new flavours and experiences spent their free time socialising (as we all do) they regularly found themselves in the presence of wealthy personalities or even royalty & their cover story was to say that they were a “Senior Executive of the Parasol & Swing Company”. For those in the know, knew & for those who didn’t was enough information for them not to ask any more tricky questions. This is the inspiration behind Auckland's newest rooftop bar in the Viaduct, brainchild of the man with the Midas touch when it comes to hospitality - Jason Rosen. This bar has everything I have come to expect from a bar run by Rosen, remarkably tasty drinks, a safe, clean environment with knowledgeable staff providing great service. Combine that with this view and honestly where else would you rather be this gorgeous summer!
This week's cocktail is made from Rye Whiskey, for those who don't know what that is, it's similar to Bourbon but because of it's higher percentage of rye as opposed to corn it is a little less sweet with more tropical, spicier flavours. Easy to find brands are Jim Beam Rye or Wild Turkey Rye.
In a Collins glass (a tall glass) over ice & add
30 or 60mls of Rye Whiskey depending on how strong you enjoy your cocktails.
10ml yellow chartreuse (or a liqueur like schnapps, herbal liqueur or Galliano Vanilla)
A couple of dashes of absinthe (Pernod or a dash of bitters will do)
Juice of one granny smith apple.
Garnish the drink with fresh sage and dehydrated apple chips. (apple slices if you don’t have dehydrated apple)
Delish, if that sounds a tad like too much work on a hot summers day then head on over to Parasol & Swing, if you're heading there on Sundays you can enjoy their chilled Sunday Sessions called "Back to Ours" (inspired by the "Back To Mine" albums). DJs, drinks, amazing service and oh that view!
Click the link below to hear my chat on RadioLIVE about Parasol & Swing
The Pioneer - A Bacardi Legacy Cocktail
Bartenders put a lot of love and passion and hard work into becoming great, a huge part of that is cocktail competitions. The amazing bartender Jeremy Nirven (who was NZ bartender of the year 2016) is the manager at Mea Culpa, Ponsonby Road and I'm featuring his entry into international cocktail competition Bacardi Legacy.
Legacy is a massive cocktail comp which has been around internationally since 2006 & in NZ since 2014. Wining is no small feat and if you win New Zealand you go to the finals, which this year are in Mexico, to compete against the best bartenders in the world. If you win the final your job for the next year is basically to travel around the world making cocktails. Not too shabby.
Jeremy's entry is inspired by Amerigos Amigo, the first European navigator to travel to Brazil and the West Indies (despite the fact that he was actually looking for East Asia) and the flavours synonymous with the countries he traveled to are represented in this awesome cocktail.
The Pioneer - A Bacardi Legacy Cocktail
Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice
Add 40mls Bacardi Ocho (Bacardi 8 an 8 Year old Dark Rum)
15mls Sweet Vermouth
10mls Averna (Can substitute with Aperol)
5mls Falurnum (Sugar Syrup & clove)
1x Dash Orange Bitters
Stir slowly to let the flavours combine and then garnish with an orange twist.
To know more about The Pioneer and it's journey through Bacardi Legacy then follow the facebook page here.
Listen to my chat with Wendyl on RadioLIVE about this great cocktail and I hope that you give making it a go...or even better head into Mea Culpa on Ponsonby Road and ask Jeremy to make it for you. Trust me, nothing tastes better than a cocktail made by a master!
The Piquante Jorge - Soul Bar, Auckland Viaduct
This isn't the first time that Soul Bar has featured on here and you can be sure it won't be the last. For quality of food and drinks, service and location all in one, you can most definitely rely on Soul Bar & Bistro.
This time Scott the bartender made me the Piquante Jorge, a cocktail inspired by his love for putting Tabasco sauce on cucumber slices so he decided to make a drink that tasted the same. I'm not usually one for spicy drinks but this one works as the cucumber makes it cooling.
Also I feel Tequila gets a bad wrap, it's a phenomenal spirit which people don't like because they've had too much of the terrible stuff and usually then they've already had way too much to drink already, so let's give (good) tequila some love shall we?
This recipe uses a combo of Mezcal & Tequila but if you don't have Mezcal you can use 60mls of Tequila. I do recommend having Mezcal in your cocktail cabinet though, it's got a very distinctively smoky taste that quite distinguishes it from Tequila. Punch – coming back in Feb. Putting the party into Sunday Lunch
30ml Chilli infused Tequila
30ml Cucumber Juice
20ml Agave Syrup
Shake, double strain over ice – garnish with lime
Soul Punch is back on February 25th - it's the ultimate Sunday party and these events always sell out so don't hesitate to book.
Click the link below to hear my chat on the Long Lunch about the Piquante Jorge
The Mirage Cocktail - Win Win Bar, 212 Ponsonby Road
This cocktail is light and refreshing and teaming with lemony deliciousness, if you don't feel like making it yourself then I definitely recommend heading into see the team at Win Win, it's newly refurbished with a distinct vegas feel. Cool photos on the walls and awesome red booths which adds a touch of luxury.
As for the service, well you know that is as important to me as the quality of the drinks - it's awesome and bartender Benz is as friendly & welcoming as his cocktails are delicious. That and they have a popcorn machine behind the bar - I KNOW! Why aren't you there already. Two thumbs up Win Win.
30ml Ketel One Vodka
20mL Lemon juice
15mL Ginger Syrup
15ml Egg white
5 drops bitters
Put all the ingredients in a shaker with ice & shake vigorously!
Strain into a tall glass over ice and top with Rose Lemonade.
Garnish with Lemon peel, mint sprig and icing sugar.
To listen to my chat with Wendyl Nissan about Win Win Bar & how to make the Mirage click the link below
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.