Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Auckland - 4 Days and 22 Gin and Tonics

The Gin Jubilee and Auckland Gin scene where to start. I think it is safe to say that Gin in Auckland is a growing thing. With over 33 bars committing to this Gin focused event it was interesting to see each individual bars take on Gin and on their drink creation. There are a lot of passionate bartenders out there with good knowledge about Gin and how to go about mixing it in such a way that will leave you with a great experience.

Over the last couple of years a remarkable thing has happened in Auckland, im talking about the number of bars that now stock more than 2 Gins on the back bar. Whats more it is not uncommon for the range to include an actual New Zealand made Gin. While there is still a ways to go with what bars could do in this space it is good to see that I no longer have to settle for the often less than adequate basics.

Not only has the range improved but it is also quite common to find someone behind the bar who is passionate about the Gin they are serving and if you catch them at the right moment they are quite happy to have a bit of a yarn about there favourite Gins and how they like to drink them.

Here is a little bit of a guide to get you out and tasting great Gin in Auckland

Of the bars we went to there were some obvious stand outs in terms of available range of Gins so if your new to Gin and need to try absolutely everything or your tastes are a little outside of the standard range I would recommend visiting one of the following establishments.
  • The Gin Room: has the largest selection of Gins in the Auckland area ranging from the classics through all the NZ made gins and an extensive library of rare Gins sourced from outside of New Zealand. All bundled up in a classy prohibition stlye speakeasy package.
  • Mea Culpa: also have a wide selection of the more readily available Gins.
  • The Love Bucket: on Kroad is a little hidden gem with a great range of Gins, they also do a G&T on tap.
  • Britomart Country Club: are in the process of setting up a Gin Garden bar and have a good selection of the classics as well as a number of more rare Gins.
During the Gin Jubilee I tried 22 Gin and Tonic cocktails and while I cant pick a favourite there were some that were definitely highlights and if your tastes run more into the cocktail area these should be on your bucket list.

  • Mr Toms: Refreshing drink and stunningly presented with Cucumber wrapped around the inside of the glass micro Shiso leaves and an Origami dinosaur.
  • Mea Culpa: beautifully presented with red currents floating on a cinnamon Quill cocktail was also rich in flavour with some interesting use of vinegar to balance out the flavours.
  • Cassia: well presented cocktail with use of Cinnamon quill again and a piece of smoked dehydrated milk foam with flavours of pear and thyme. This was a perfect match for one of there equally stunning curry meals.
  • Beirut: stylishly presented with mint and hibiscus flowers. Exceptionally well balanced flavours with Mint, Watermelon , Rose and Yuzu Tonic Water.
  • Azabu: tasty cocktail, loving the butterfly pea flower that gradually altered the colour of your cocktail until it reaches a deep rich purple.
  • The Gin Room: well balanced flavours grapefruit with a delicious creamy anise foam. Cameron is very knowledgable about Gin and Cocktails and more than happy to help you choose something Gin soaked to suit your tastes.
  • Caretaker: Monkey 47 and Pinot Noir how could you go wrong. This is a super cool hidden Speakeasy bar with New York cocktail lounge style decor. There bar tenders are also very knowledgable about making drinks using there high quality spirits selection hidden inside the antique safes that adorn there back bar.
This was only some of the great places we visited over the week there are so many more that I haven't reviewed or haven't been to yet. Please drop me a line if you have any good Gin bars that you like to frequent. Finally I am super excited about Auckland's future as a Gin destination and to see that so many new bars are getting into Gin and actually no a thing or two about Gin and how to serve it!

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