42 Below is at it again

Have you ever wondered what might have happened if the Germans had won in WWII and the Emerald Isles had effective policing, beer you can see through and German accented teaching thrust upon them?

Wonder no more, as James Sugarfoot Goggin has perfected the Irish German accent and has taken it out for a spin in this call to arms for New Zealand bartenders to join the Cocktail World Cup and give the country more than just a gold plated rugby trophy to crow about.



This may not end well

They say it is a fine line between genius and insanity.

It appears that the team at 42 Below have dressed as jesters and are whirling like dervishes over both sides of that line as they gear up for Cocktail World Cup next week.

The latest announcement to roll out of this eagerly awaited contest is the attendance of not one but two Playboy Playmates at the event. They’ll be covering things for the Playboy website, and filing daily video reports. They’ll also be fighting off the attention and advances of contestants, locals and the male populations of Southland and Otago.

Ashley Hobbs and Jordan Monroe sound eager to arrive all the same:

“I’m very excited to represent Playboy at the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup. I’ve never been to New Zealand, so not only am I looking forward to watching the best bartenders in the world compete, and can’t wait to take in the sights of this beautiful country. Oh, and go Team USA!” Ashley Hobbs, Miss December 2010

“Bungee jumping, speed boats, winery and food paring challenges? I don’t know of a more unique cocktail competition, which is why I’m really excited to be heading to New Zealand to help capture this amazing experience for Playboy.” Jordan Monroe, Miss October 2006

For all of those being whipped into a frenzy by this news, I’d suggest the second stop, after a Google image search with SafeSearch turned off, should be for a ticket to the final event under the big top, and your only realistic chance of getting within ten feet of these lovely ladies. All proceeds from the event are going the the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund.

The contest kicks off next week.



Carnival Spectacularrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

It’s that time again, 42BELOW is gearing up around the world to fly bartenders from the four corners of this blue green globe to compete in the Cocktail world Cup and become totally and utterly indoctrinated by the New Zealand experience and it’s most famous no0n agricultural export, 42BELOW vodka.

“The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup is our signature event and our way of celebrating the superstars of our trade. We are working hard to make sure that 7th time around it will be more extreme and more outrageous than ever before” says 42BELOW Marketing Director Dion Nash.

Thus far, I have heard stories about fantastic dress up parties, a woman who can contort herself into a box and holds the world record for passing through an unstrung tennis racket in a minute, and I’m pretty sure the number was in the double digits. I would absolutely encourage you to try this at home to get a real idea of exactly what that feat entails. My own current pb is hovering around ¼.

Selection is underway right around the worlds, so contact your local Bacardi ambassador and inquire why you haven’t been made aware of one of the regional finals. It is an epic week, which if you survive will standout from pretty much any other contest out there. Continue reading

Cocktail, Competitions, New Zealand

42 Below Cocktail World Cup Grand Final Redux

My massive week with 42  Below finished up last Saturday with the finals of Cocktail World Cup. The competition was the brainchild of founder, Geoff Ross. Now in its 6th year, the World Cup sees bartenders from around the world challenged to develop and produce a cocktail to rival the classics, extra marks are awarded for delivering the drink with humour and style that reflects the brands values as well.

Heaps of brands now fly bartenders to the country of production to provide them an “authentic” brand experience. 42 lets the animal out of the cage, good and proper. The whole deal was promoted as a Love, Drinks and Rock’n’Roll, which is how a lawyer references the excesses of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll.

The final itself is the culmination of many months, semifinals around the world determine who gets to go down to New Zealand, experience the brand in its home. I thought I’d share a little piece of the finals with you, the teams, their drinks and the event itself. It’s not quite the same as being there, but as there were only 600 tickets, chances are you weren’t.

Get amongst, after the jump.

Continue reading

Competitions, New Zealand

USA takes the Trophy!!!

It was a close run thing but the USA are winners of the Cocktail World Cup. All the teams were highly impressive but the Bonded Applejack drink these boys put up. More detail and the liveblog can be found over wit Camper at Alcademics.

Can’t wait to have the drink, and I’ll tack down the recipe for you all tomorrow.

Thanks to a quick read by 42’s Professor of vodka, Jacob Briars, I happily stand corrected. USA’s winning drink was the “Thyme of my life”. The Applejack featured in the bitters the boys made up.

The Thyme of my Life

45mls 42 Below Pure, 30mls Cynar, 45mls lime and thyme syrup, 3 dashes apple bitters (90% 42 Pure, 10% bonded Applejack) stirred over ice and grnished with a compressed apple garnish.

Photo tomorrow.

Event, New Zealand

The Luck of the Irish

The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup is all about making extraordinary cocktails in  extraordinary environments. Many of the challenges are judged on the originality and creativity of the drinks, but when it comes to measuring the skills of a true bartender, one drink sets the benchmark- the classic Martini. “Modern Martini’ was the fourth challenge in the 2010 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, the eight teams all preparing their version of the timeless drink.

The panel of four international judges recommended contestants keep things simple for this round, and that was exactly what the winners did. The competition’s loveable, if slightly loud, rogues- Team Ireland, taking it by the slightest of margins. Their appropriately titled ‘Kia Kaha’ (meaning ‘stand strong’ in Maori) was made of 42BELOW Pure, Lillet Blanc and sprayed with a Feijoa mist. In typical Irish style, the team came up with their winning entry on the bus on the way to the event! “I’m truly blown away to have won tonight, we’ve been gutted every time we have lost a challenge, we really wanted to do this for each other” says Team Ireland big man Andy Wall. US Bartender of the Year and our esteemed judge Jim Meehan said the Irish entry stood out for its simplicity and elegance, “it’s a drink I would be proud to serve in my bar,” said Meehan.

The Modern Martini challenge was the first event to be held in Wellington in the lead up to the grand final on Saturday March 27th, where the teams will prepare their signature drink for a live audience.

The convoy of bartenders, international judges and media had the ultimate ending to the Queenstown leg of the cup, being taken by helicopter from the Skyliner Gondola to the airport for their own rock ‘n’ roll charter flight. It was an inflight experience like never before, passengers provided with rock star wigs and glasses while sipping on a 42BELOW ‘Aviation’ cocktail and listening to AC/DC on takeoff. The plane was met by a scrum of local ‘papparazzi’ as they transferred to their stretch limos for a brief tour of the capital. “It’s the closest we’ll ever get to being real rock stars. I’ve never been treated so well before,  it was stupidly good,” says Australian team member and the country’s bartender of the year Chris Hysted.

Kia Kaha

50ml 42BELOW Pure
20ml Lillet Blanc
42Below Feijoa Vodka mist

Event, New Zealand

The Kiwis bash one out

The New Zealand team notched up a challenge win in Sunshine Bay on Lake Wakatipu yesterday, with their special it’s 42bro, served up in a sawn off 420 water bottle.

The challenge took all of 8 minutes for each team, with a random box of ingredients being provided and teams getting bonus points for using more ingredients but still producing a balanced drink.

It’s 42 bro

42BELOW Vodka
Jose Cuervo tradicional
Fresh apricot
‘Rocket’ sauce
Vanilla sugar
Chestnut syrup
English Breakfast tea syrup
Peychaud’s Bitters

Muddle Rocket sauce and apricots,  add all ingredients, shake and strain. Garnish with chopped,  fresh papaya sprinkled with vanilla sugar and grapefruit zest.

Event, New Zealand

Smack in the Face?

No, not really. This is a post about Punch, the community liquor that really is quicker.

Last night at the house of one of the men credited with the lyrics for Eye of the Tiger, 42Below rocked out, with the second Cocktail World Cup Challenge, the 21st Century Punch contest. The Americans came away with a win, serving up their punch in hollowed out mangosteens, topped with a passionfruit vodka ‘cloud’

I’ve got a recipe coming, but you’ll have to come back for that.


42BELOW Honey
42BELOW Passionfruit
Sazerac Rye
white rum
NZ Sauvignon Blanc
passionfruit juice
Sencha green tea
fresh passionfruit
luxardo cherries
Lemon Juice
Champagne to taste
Serve with Passionfruit balls.

Other highlights of the night were getting a drink made for by both Chris Hysted, Australian Bartender of the Year & Jim Meehan, American Bartender of the Year.

Cocktail, MixMarch, New Zealand

MixMarch #24: Whoop It Up

Simon Difford had pulled together one of the most comprehensive websites in the world, Difford’s Guide. He also publishes Class Magazine. To top it all off he loves a Daiquiri. He talked yesterday at Cocktail World Cup and made a few drinks. This was one of them, You might have to wait just a moment to make it, as Simon’s Bitters are not yet in General availability, but hold tight, they’re on their way…

The Whoop It Up

30mls Bacardi, 30mls 42Below Manuka Honey Vodka, 15mls Benedictine, 7.5mls Canton Ginger Liqueur, 15mls Lemon Juice, 3 dashes Diffords Daiquiri Bitters. Shake, strain and serve up.

Whoop, Whoop!

Event, New Zealand

Mocktail Challenge on the Shotover Jet

Challenge One is done and dusted, with teams mixing up a modern mocktail using fresh fruits, Monin syrups and juices. Team Australia came away with the win, with Chris Hysted managing to keep at least some of the drink in the glass and get it to Justin Mackenzie and get top scores.

Tonight they’ll ride to the Punch Party on Harley Davisons, like the rockstars they are.

Cocktail, Event, MixMarch

MixMarch #23: The Bacchus Reisling

The Bacchus Reisling is possibly the most complex cocktail I’ve listed on this site, certainly right up there with the Alamagoozulum. Invented for the 2007 Cocktail World Cup, and garnering a second place for Riki Carter, Chris Harup and Kyle Simpson, The 42Below Vineyard 2007 Bacchus Reisling takes ingredients from the local region in an attempt to emulate the fruitful Central Otago style. Featuring 42Below Passionfruit, described by Professor Jacob Briars as “The most passionate of all vodkas”, this is a drink that is a real delight.

It also pairs nicely with fish.

The Bacchus Reisling

30mls 42Below Passionfruit, 15mlsLillet Blanc, 15mls RinQinQin (a peachy brandy ‘secret ingredient’), 5mls Speyside Scotch, 5mls Barenjager Honey Liqueur, 10mls Calvados, 25mls Verjuice (Gibbston Valley for a preference) 10mls fresh grapefruit juice, 2 thyme sprigs.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice, Shake like you’re in the most beautiful place in the world and strain into a reisling glass.  a amended after comment by Riki Carter, creator of this drink.

Please dont shake the cocktails stir lovingly and double strain in to a glass pre rinsed with fresh thyme and the glenlivet whisky

Here’s the original.

Event, New Zealand

And so it begins

Flights into Queenstown were met in branded buses and thrown from the Kawara Gorge bridge (conviently a height of 42 meters) as their introduction to the 42Below Cocktail World Cup.

Yesterday was all about getting to know the teams, blowing out the cobwebs and rolling out the welcome wagon. The formal part of the evening rolled to a close at Canyon Lodge, where a four course degustation with Cocktails paired to each dish were offered up to assembeld horde. The highlights for me (apart from the plunge of the bridge) were, meeting the some of the judging panel, Simon Difford of Diffords Guide, Vernon Chalker of much Melburnian fame and Jim Meehan, American Bartender of the year. All of these guys will be making an appearance on these pages in the coming days.

Food wise, the fresh Ocean Salmon, paired with the Bacchus Reisling was exceptional.

MixMarch, New Zealand

MixMarch #22: The Vodka Cocktail

I’m sitting in the Koru Lounge waiting with anticipation for my flight to Queenstown and 42Below’s Cocktail World Cup. This once evry odd yearly event represents a pinnacle in bar tending & cocktail events worldwide. Where most events are held inside the darkened halls of the bar world, or in stuffy private clubs, Cocktail World Cup showcases the home of 42Below and challenges bartenders to compete, learn and experience the wonderful place that is New Zealand.

The Vodka Cocktail

Take 42 bartenders from right around the world, muddle gently until they’re all in Queenstown. Add one part amazing scenery, two parts adventure sports and a dash of the Rockstar lifestyle. Mix vigorously from Queenstown to Wellington and serve up with a massive fanfare on a production stage. This drink should be served with at least one Fergburger on the side.

I’ll be at Cocktail World Cup all week, seeing what these bartenders will bring to the glass is an exciting proposition and the team at 42 never fails to deliver an amazingly hospitable time. Look forward to a week of great content.

Oh, and I musn’t forget the cocktail you can drink…

True 42

Fill a Rocks glass with ice, and squeeze in 3 wedges of lime. Add one part of 42BELOW vodka, and stir well.  Fill with ice again, and squeeze in more lime, and add remaining 42BELOW vodka.  Stir well again, and serve.


The anticipation is building

This is an amazing piece of content pulled together from the USA finals for Cocktail World Cup. Watch closely as Professor Jacob warms to his role speaking with an American journalist. The use of “Pretty much, yeah, it’s kinda the pinnacle, y’know” shows the level of effort the man has put into his study of the other English language, American.

Seriously though, there’s some great technique in here and I can’t wait to see if the guy who came second brings his red suspenders to the contest next week.

Event, New Zealand

7 left to go…

Seven Sleeps ‘Til Lift-Off In The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2010

Right now, in all corners of the globe, 24 of the world’s best bartenders are polishing their shakers, dusting off their muddlers, packing their skinniest pair of jeans and a few favourite, top secret ingredients. Yup, it’s only a week to go ‘til the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2010 kicks off -it’s all about ‘Love, Drinks and Rock n Roll, Baby!’.

The bartenders are about to have the experience of a lifetime, a one off chance to take part in the world’s most extreme cocktail making competition in the home of 42BELOW, New Zealand. Contestants from the New York, London, Dublin, Milan, Rome, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland will assemble in Queenstown on Monday 22nd March for four days of cocktail making and adrenalin pumping challenges. Their every move (even the dodgy dance ones) will be scrutinised by four international judges, including the recently crowned American ‘bartender of the year’ Jim Meehan. “For the past few years, the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup has drawn rave reviews from judges and contestants alike.  After a week -long examination of each participants ability to work individually and as a team player with national bragging rights on the line, the competition pushes bartenders out of their comfort zone into real-time scenarios,” Meehan says, with a 42BELOW cocktail in his hand.

The competition will be set in some of the South Island’s most spectacular locations and includes ‘Modern Martini’, ‘Ready, Steady, Shake’ and the ‘Mocktail’ challenge. Contestants will also take part in a series of cocktail ‘summits’- educational workshops hosted by some of the most influential people in the industry. And, in true 42BELOW style, there’ll be a fair few surprises too. “This group of bartenders work at the best bars, clubs and parties around the world. We’re honoured they’re coming on tour with us in New Zealand and I know they’ll be blown away by what 42BELOW has in store for them next week,” says 42BELOW CEO Paul Dibbayawan.

From Queenstown this motley group of mixologists will head north to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, home of the country’s hippest night spots. They’ll have time to take in some of the sights, namely an oddly shaped parliament building and a few hairy hobbits. They’ll also have time to perfect their signature drink ahead of a jaw dropping grand final event on March 27th at Wellington’s Old Museum Building. The teams will take to the stage alongside real life rockers, kiwi chart toppers Midnight Youth and the winners of the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup will be crowned.

It’s a week-long party in the world’s ultimate playground, all thanks to a crazy little vodka brand from the bottom of the earth. Who would have thought?
For more information please contact Belinda Henley.

Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #5: Pacific Dawn

I love a cocktail that comes with good story, and over the years, entries in the Cocktail World Cup have got to the point where there is often more story that substance. This one, however, served up at the recent UK finals at Shoreditch House in London, seems to get the balance between story, ingredients and result exactly right.

The West London team mixed this up in the garb of convicts and a naval Captain, with the ingredients representing a journey around the colonies of Merry Old England.

Pacific Dawn

50mls 42BELOW Manuka Honey Vodka
25mls Vanilla Tobacco infused Naval Rum
25mls Cardamom Infused Treacle Syrup
1tbs Kenyan Coffee Beans
4 drops Liquorice Bitters
Serve at 42degrees centigrade in a silver goblet with a scurvy ration of 42BELOW Kiwifruit lime wedges.

If you’re going to be in Wellington, New Zealand on the 27th of this month, get yourself a ticket to the finals, plus a rock concert. Go to Hawthorn to pick it up. 82 Tory St, they’ll set you back $42 dollars, obviously.

Competitions, New Zealand

Cocktail World Cup is coming.

The event is less than a month away. It sounds as though it’s going to be epic. If you’re going to be in Wellington on the 27th, get down to the Old Museum Building for a wicked sick night of cockatilian construction. Tix on the website or from Hawthorn in Welly.

For those who want more. try the press release, the website and make sure you join the facebook fan page. If enough Aussies are vocal, AIRNZ will probably come to the party with a deal to get you across the ditch for it.

Can’t wait…


Tanning Lamps, Grit & an impending crash

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.