At LK we love a good cocktail, but what separates the good from the bad and the just plain ugly? Well our tried and trusted method is to go ask an expert & they don’t come more expert on the subject of cocktails than Calem Chadwick & Chase Bickerton.
Calem & Chase are the spirit ambassadors for Lion in New Zealand and they are our go-to for all things delicious in the world of spirits.
Here are their top 5 cocktails these guys think everyone should be able to make. Some are classics, some are new, all are super easy to recreate.
Calem recommends: Falling Water
New Zealand’s very own classic
The Falling Water
45ml 42Below Feijoa
120ml Chi Sparkling Herbal Mineral Water
Telegraph Cucumber Slice
- Measure and pour vodka into a tall glass
- Cut a long slice of cucumber and rest inside glass
- Fill with ice
- Top with Chi and stir
This is New Zealand’s answer to the Gin and Tonic. Every patriotic kiwi needs to have this drink in their repertoire. This signature serve for 42Below helped to take the now iconic brand to the world. Crafted in New Zealand’s creative capital – Wellington, at the legendary Matterhorn. This drink is an easy summer time go to. It’s fresh, easy to make, simple ingredients and tastes great.
In a pinch, if you can’t find Chi (available at all major supermarkets) you can use a lemonade as a substitute. Also slice the cucumber on a diagonal to recreate the signature garnish for this drink.
Calem recommends: Paloma
The often overlooked Tequila classic
30mls Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
15mls Lime Juice
120mls Grapefruit Soda (like Jarritos)
1 wheel Ruby Red Grapefruit
Pinch of salt
- Measure and pour Tequila, lime juice and salt into a tall glass
- Fill glass with ice
- Top with grapefruit soda
- Garnish and serve
Spanish for ‘dove’ the Paloma is an often overlooked and underappreciated Tequila classic. Credited to the legendary Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner and bartender of La Capilla in Tequila, Mexico. Don Jaiver is also credited with the creation of the Batanga. The pairing of Tequila and grapefruit is an absolute match made in heaven. To the point where some believe it pairs better than lime!
Use an authentic Mexican soda if you can find it. It uses sugar as a sweetener instead of high-fructose corn syrup, making for a better flavour. If you can’t find grapefruit soda, you can just as easily use fresh grapefruit juice, sugar and soda water to replicate it. Ruby Red works best.
Calem recommends: Dark and Stormy
My year round go-to drink
Dark and Stormy
30mls Appleton Estate Signature
3 wedges Fresh Lime
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
120ml Ginger Beer
- Squeeze lime wedges into a tall glass and drop in
- Measure and pour in rum and bitters
- Fill glass with ice
- Top with ginger beer, stir and serve
The Dark and Stormy is and will always be one of my year round go-to drinks. The flavour profile is equally refreshing as it is comforting and warming and therefore lends itself to both warmer and colder months. The combination of rum, ginger beer, lime and bitters also gives you a very adaptable flavour profile that makes it really easy to twist and create simple variations of the drink.
Whether you add some marmalade or jam, change the bitters, swap the citrus or use a spiced rum instead, whatever it is, a quick rebalance and you have one of the most versatile and robust mixed drink templates allowing you to create great drinks every time.
The drink benefits from using a fuller bodied rum, always use high quality ginger beer and fresh is best. There’s really no substitute for fresh lime.
Chase recommends: Daiquiri
The drink that creates friendships
60ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
30ml Fresh Lime Juice
2 teaspoons Caster Sugar
- Start by adding the Fresh Lime Juice and caster sugar to a shaker and stir to dissolve
- Add Bacardi Carta Blanca, stir and taste
- Rebalance if necessary (all components should work in harmony)
- Add both crushed and cubed ice, then shake with extreme prejudice
- Double Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
From the Caribbean cradle of cocktail culture – Cuba. For me, the Daiquiri is the yardstick of any great bartender. It seems simple enough, after all it is only three ingredients – Rum, fresh lime juice and sugar. But, it actually takes a lot of skill to balance each component, shake, chill and dilute it properly. Rum, Lime and Sugar is known as the Holy Trinity of rum. It forms the base from which to build a huge array of classic Rum drinks. If you can perfect this combination you are well on you way to unlocking incredible rum drinks.
Fresh is best. Always use fresh lime juice and use Bacardi if you want to make an authentic Daiquiri. Remember to taste as you go and continually practice balancing your drink. If you keep practicing you will get a feel for it. And a Snaquiri is just a small Daiquiri shared between friends.
Chase recommends: Irish Coffee
A true Irish legacy
30mls Bushmills Black Bush
120mls Quality Filter or Plunger Coffee
1 Sugar Cube (preferably brown)
30mls Cream (fresh whipped)
- Add sugar cube to a warm glass
- Pour over hot coffee and stir to dissolve sugar
- Add measure of Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
- Float cream on top
Some of the greatest creations are born out of necessity. When Joe Sheridan added Irish Whiskey to hot coffee to warm a group of American passengers on a cold, wet evening at Foyne’s airport in Ireland’s mid-west he would go on to create a lasting Irish legacy on par with the country’s greatest ever exports. You do need this drink in your repertoire, just keep it simple and don’t over complicate it.
The key to a great Irish coffee is to use a great Irish whiskey like Bushmill’s, high quality filter or plunger coffee and to not over whip the cream. It should be roughly ‘half-whipped’ with a slight runny consistency to the cream and poured over the back of a spoon on top to float.