Capsule x QT Auckland
We’re entering into the gloomiest part of winter where it’s still dark, it’s still cold and a lot of the ‘ooh it’s chilly today!’ novelty has worn off. So we’re looking everywhere for some seasonal spark and boy, did we find it on a recent evening at the QT Auckland Rooftop Bar, where Restaurant and Bar Manager Egor Petrov talked us through their winter cocktail range. Consider yourself inspired for your next girls’ weekend!
It’s a fun twist on a classic cocktail called The Southside, which typically is made up of sugar, gin, citrus and mint. But Egor wanted a drink that would be a modern version of the classic, so mixed peppermint-infused gin, Cocchi Americano – which is a bitter, aperitif wine, a little bit of wild strawberry liqueur, citrus and sparkling honey mead. The mead comes from Borage & Bee Meadery, a small business run out of Hawea Flat and Egor decided to build the drink around it, after coming across a can of the good stuff at Farro’s. “I saw it and thought, ‘this is really cool and nobody else is doing it,’” Egor says.
This drink started off being called ‘The Roo-Roo’ because when all of the Rooftop Bar menus were stacked together on the bar, they read ‘Roo…Roo…Roo.’ Then Egor found out about the Ruru bird and renamed it to fit our native morepork. It’s also got the main flavour of rhubarb, mixed with fennel-infused gin, a bit of apple brandy, and then rhubarb and grapefruit soda, from a local company called East Imperial. “I’ve also got local ingredients in mind when I create every single drink; I always want a hero ingredient that’s produced locally,” says Egor. “We’re very lucky to be able to do that at the QT because a lot of other corporate hotels don’t allow small contracts to be signed with local producers, usually only big companies. We’re very lucky to be able to support small businesses here.”
As part of the winter menu, QT have teamed up with Scottish whiskey house Glenlivet to create a range of winter warmers – including this Winter Manhattan, a very simple twist on a classic Manhattan only it can be served warm, if you keep it over the warm water to heat it up. It also comes in the kind of glass that makes you feel like you are a James Bond villainess, about to commit some espionage (a plus, in our books!) Some of the other Winter Warmers include a Hot Whiskey Punch and a Speyside Flat White, which is a whiskey twist on an Irish coffee but obviously named after how us Kiwis take our morning joe.
Peaches and Cream
What Egor describes a very “old-school style of drink”, it’s a milk punch but with some technical wizardry behind it – the milk has been split into curds and whey, and then the team have clarified the whey and added spices to it. There’s also some brandy, spiced rum, spiced bitters, peach and clarified whey, so it’s very smooth and silky, with fruity hints and spiced notes as well.