Last night at the Beach Rd Hotel in Sydney’s internationally fashionable Bondi District, the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup rolled into town. After deftly talking my way past the door staff, I was in, a part of it, hanging with Sydney’s glitterati, or it’s bartneder’s at the very least.
The theme of the now semi annual event is Love, Drinks and Rock’n’Roll, which like the title of this article, references something that’s well known but isn’t really the same as saying it out loud. The Bartenders, however, were right into it, helped in no small part with the local obession of drainpipe jeans and rockstar chic. The level of fashion must come at the expense of nutrition, if the skeletal silhouettes and the level of interest in the food was anything to go by.
I was once again stalked by my nemesis, the plastic tumbler, although thankfully not fresh from the wash. And I must say in all fairness, that the Falling Water brought back a flood of fine memories, despite being sheathed in petrochemicals as opposed to Silica.
The contest itself consisted of heats of mystery box challenges, where contestants are asked to make a drink using an extremely varied list of ingredients. The kiwifruit vodka was boxed with muscat wine, green grapes, cucumber, tarragon and balsamic vinegar. Most contestants seemed to be making liberal use of the available Campari, Aperol and Lillet Blanc bottles.
Professor Jacob Briars, New Zealand’s 8th best bartender and legendary blue drinks enthusiast kept things moving masterfully, having had lots of practice as the regionals have rolled around the world over the past few months. The judging panel had nabbed the best view in the house, local barmaster Blake Head was joined by two locals and unemployed Pete Dougherty impersonator, Martin Newell. Deliberations were swift, although Mr. Head was heard to request more lychee based beverages on a number of occasions.
Noriel Calub from Goldfish managed to leap from his bowl and be crowned the nights winner. Hamish from perennial cocktailing wonderland, the Bayswater Brasserie came in an admirable second.
The format for the NZ is definitely changing, taking place in Summery March instead of the wintry months and will travel from Queenstown to Wellington over the course of the week. Keep your peepers peeled for more info, and you can also head here for the word as 42 tells it.