Bar, New Zealand

On Tour: Mea Culpa

Tucked beside Snatch on Ponsonby Rd, Mea Culpa is the sort of bar I wish I had downstairs from my house. Tucked away just a few doors down from the very beery but popular Chapel and Crib metropubs on Ponsonby Rd, Mea Culpa is a world class gem of a cocktail bar.

Five coffe coloured pages hold the cocktail and wine list, chock full of boozey goodness. Any venue that lists the Corpse Reviver #2 gets a high score in my book, and the addition of La Floridita #4, a selection of tribute drinks from around the world and across the centuries, plus a number of tasty well crafted originals put this place over the top. This is a place where drinks are truly crafted, served in a handpicked glass and presented with nothing but love.

A good bar experience rests on the crew your hanging out with and all signs were pointing to yes on Saturday night. A Professor of Vodka, the father of Power Dub, a seasoned water and wine exporter, my gorgeous girlfriend, a bloke in a super cool F<3NK t-shirt and a currently unemployed ex-TGIF bartender.

Outside seating is at a premium, but the carpet on the pavement makes it feel like it should be. I ordered the Consilieri, an absolutely delightful mix of Makers Mark, Almandine (that’s Amaretto to you and me) a spritz of Angostura (sorry UK) shaken well with the white of an egg to achieve velvety heaven. Happily the drink was originally made (and the one i drank) by none other than my tablemate and companion, Jacob Briars, during his previous incarnation as the bartender at Motel in Wellington. I also snuck a sip of the Miyagi Mule my girlfriend had ordered, a refreshing mix of vodka, cucumber and a pleasing hint of wasabi.

If you’re in Auckland, this has to be one of the stops you make while you’re in town.

3/175 Ponsonby Road
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Friday Fix: Boilermaker

Picture 26Australia is Beer country. A walk home on any Friday night makes that abundantly clear. While the beer cocktail is mentioned by many as a joke, poking fun at those of us who like their drinks all girly and mixed, I thought it was high time I posted a beer cocktail.

Grab yourself a bottle of Little Creatures Pale Ale. pour it into a tall glass, leaving about 3cm free before the brim. Pour a shot of Makers Mark and drop it into the glass. Drink. Repeat.

If you don’t believe that this is a real drink, head down to the Bayz and pay for one. The flavours work together, and while this drink might not be for some, its worth a go.

Fair Dinkum.


Maker’s Mark Bourbon

large_6320_Makers Mark Burbon WhiskyMade in tiny batches of around 19 barrels at a time in Loretto Kentucky, Maker’s Mark is some pretty great Bourbon.

Although the website recipe for an Old Fashioned cocktail calls for the use of soda, which would be such a waste, this is a premium spirit designed from its inception to be special. The labels on the bottle are turned out on a couple of hundred year old rotary press. The bottle is expensively and uniquely sealed with the trademark red wax that drips iconically from the neck of the bottle. It is remarkably smooth, but so are most in this category.

I like the full taste, I feel like I can pick out pieces of the ingredients and the love that went into making it. Legend has it that when the original distiller, Bill Samuels, was coming up with the recipe he baked loaves of bread with different ratios of barley and red winter wheat and chose the best tasting loaf as the basis of the original recipe.

The good folks at Annandale Cellars flog it here in Sydney and online. If you’re quick, the Liquorland at Bondi Junction was selling bottles for $49.95 over the weekend, and in case you didn’t realise, that’s not a bad deal.

I’d suggest having some of this spirit mixed into an Old Fashioned. without soda as it wasn’t invented when this drink was.

Maker’s Mark are smart about the way they use people with passion for their product. They’re leading the industry with their ambassador program. Most brands use ambassadors, talented bartenders to get out on the road and into the bars, training staff and consumers and telling the story of the brand. The Mark has taken this one step further asking anyone who tells the Maker’s story to register online, offering a bottle from their very own named barrel as an incentive and opening a great channel for news and special product offers to those that care a little more than most.

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