On day four (feels like forty) of the 42Below Cocktail World Cup in New Zealand we arrived in Wellington, had the usual 7 or so minutes to change, then headed off to the next cocktail challenge: The Modern Martini. For this, bartenders had to update the Martini but retain its inherent properties. It was interesting to see what the teams of bartenders from the UK, France, Italy, and the US decided to update.
The event was held at Mojo Coffee roasters, sort of a Peet's Coffee of Wellington. In the end Team Ireland took home the prize with the simplest interpretation of the night: Vodka, Lillet Blanc, Peychaud's bitters, and a rinse of Feijoa vodka.
Then it was time to hit the bars, because lord knows we hadn't done that for what seemed like ages. Okay, it was yesterday and there were too many of them, but we were in a new city so that resets the clock.
The first stop in Wellington was Motel Bar. Like all bars I visited this night, it had a slightly old-timey theme with a few eclectic decorations but a great looking cocktail menu.
Next up was Hawthorn Lounge, a small one-room bar with a very lively barman at the helm who mixed us a gigantic vodka flip involving 24 free-range eggs shaken in an oversized 42Below bottle. He called his barback "garnish monkey."
Next up was Matterhorn, a hip large restaurant opened in the 1960's with a narrow and popular bar room.
The last stop, and wildest, was Hooch, a newer bar with sort of a speakeasy theme. I loved the mixed drink I had there, but unfortunately don't know what was in it.
I kind of want to go back to all of the bars and have other cocktails. I like that all these bars are small and they have big spirits selection and great cocktail menus.
Also, in Wellington all the bartenders drink Fernet-Branca. Word.