One of my all-time favourite activities is making cocktails, watching other people make cocktails and of course, drinking them – whether it be a homemade margarita, a rum concoction in a coconut, or a flaming volcano.
So, I was pretty excited to attend a Zomato Foodie Meetup last Sunday afternoon at Bedford Soda and Liquor where we learnt about the science of mixology and also took part in a cocktail masterclass.
To get the afternoon going, we all started with a refreshing cocktail which reminded me of summertime – a Vanilla Vodka Daisy (pictured above), with strong hints of passionfruit and decorated with lettuce leaves and edible flowers, while the manager, Kieran, talked about the history of Bedford Soda, in that their inspiration comes from the cocktail bars in Williamsburg, New York, where simplicity and creativity play the most important part in cocktail making. Bedford Soda has adopted this style and they are also passionate about serving simple food done well. It certainly doesn’t disappoint!
We were then introduced to Mixologist and New Zealand Bar Champion of 2015, Phil Spector, who showed us how to make four of Bedford Soda’s amazing cocktails, including:
- Steaming Copper Kettle (favourite of the day)
- A Muscat + Campari number
- Bobby Burns
- A Tequila + Malt Whiskey number (second favourite)
The first cocktail, Steaming Copper Kettle, was definitely a sight for the eyes, particularly because it involved liquid nitrogen. Having only ever seen this been done before on television, I was super excited! This was my favourite cocktail of the day, because it was fruity (but not too sweet) and very flavourful – thanks to the cucumber, basil, citrus, feijoa and honey used!
The Muscat + Campari number was an interesting choice, and not something I would usually drink while out. However, it did contain something exciting… wait for it.. chocolate bitters! This would be the ultimate party drink, as it is contains very few ingredients and it is not too strong.
Next up is Bobby Burns – Phil wanted us to imagine we were on the Mad Men show (a drama about an advertising company in New York) drinking this cocktail. It consists of coffee and whiskey, which is a good way to add bitterness to a cocktail. The burnt orange on top gave it a great smokey taste, however it was quite strong – one sip was enough for me!
Phil’s last (but not least) cocktail of Tequila + Single Malt Whiskey currently has no name – so let’s call it The Unknown. When I heard ‘tequila’, I grinned like the Cheshire cat, as it is my favourite spirit. This cocktail is super easy to make, and oh so delicious. Plus I got to do the cocktail shaking! Check out the recipe below:
You will need:
A tall glass
2 shots tequila (Arette was used)
1 shot single malt whiskey (Lagavulin was used)
2 shots pineapple juice
1/2 shot liquid honey
1 shot toasted almond syrup
All spice bitters
Fresh mint + edible flowers
1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker
2. Measure out the first 5 ingredients and pour into the shaker
3. Add a dash of All spice bitters
3. Start shaking! And only stop when your hands are freezing cold and your arms feel like they might fall off…
4. Strain the liquid into your glass
3. Top with fresh mint and garnish with edible flowers. Enjoy! x
We then sat down to a feast of Bedford & Soda’s signature meatballs, sliders, polenta fried squid and crispy fried chicken – the perfect bar snacks to accompany our cocktails.
Bedford & Soda are famous for their meatballs and they have a great menu concept around it too. Simply choose your meatball flavour (for example beef with tomato, oregano and parmesan), then your sauces (say spicy tomato and roast garlic aioli) and whether you would like them as is or on a bed of spaghetti, mash, polenta, risotto, salad or quinoa… the list is endless! This makes ordering super fun and also a chance to try a range of meatballs.
I also loved the Bedford Sliders – individual meatballs between a mini bun! My absolute favourite was the vegetarian meatball of crumbed pumpkin and pine nut, topped with beetroot chutney. I am not a pumpkin fan, but this particular meatball oozed flavour and who knows, may of changed the way I feel about pumpkin!
Their polenta fried squid and crispy fried chicken were both cooked to perfection, and accompained by tasty dipping sauces. These would be ideal for late night snacks and I can definitely see why these dishes are already a hit at Bedford & Soda!
Would I recommend Bedford Soda & Liquor? Absolutely. If you are looking for an impressive cocktail menu, tasty food and friendly staff, then this place will be right up your alley. And if you’re still not sure, then head along in a few weeks time to try out their new menu – see you there x
[A HUGE thank you to Chanelle of Zomato for organising this event and to Kieran, Phil and the team at Bedford Soda & Liquor for their generous hospitality].
Bedford Soda & Liquor
4 Brown Street, Ponsonby Central
Open Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 12am
Recommended: Steaming Copper Kettle cocktail, crispy fried chicken and a range of meatballs