It’s summer cocktail season and Matt Fitzgerald, owner of K Rd bar Madame George, knows what you should be drinking.
It’s been really hard to get in New Zealand, but in the last month, we’ve brought all this new mezcal into the country.
Apparently it’s quite good for you! It’s a pre-biotic or a probiotic or something. You can shoot it like tequila, and it peps you up. Or you can treat mezcal like whisky: have it with a chip of ice and just sip it. You can pair it with food, like wine — some of our food has South American flavours. Or you can have it with a beer chaser — that works really well. It’s quite smoky, quite a powerful flavour, so it can dominate everything, but if you get it right, it’s pretty nice. It’s an acquired taste, like oysters or something. It’s kind of gross to start with, but once you get into it and understand the nuances, it’s quite nice.
Crazy infused pisco!
We infuse a lot of piscos, which are from Peru. It depends what’s in season. At the moment, pineapple’s in season so we char pineapple on a coal BBQ and use a sous vide to infuse the alcohol. Now that summer fruit’s coming in, we’ll be doing different things.
(Pineapple is also good with mezcal — the charred sweetness and smokiness go well). We get manuka from Grey Lynn park and infuse pisco with that. Whatever we can find. We’ll try anything and if it works, we put it on the menu. If it doesn’t, staff just drink it.
Good ol’ beer!
Sour beers are really popular at the moment, and we’re doing a few tea-infused beers. Craft beer is so over-saturated that they have to think up new angles. Some of them are good, but some are a bit over the top. I like to try a sip of them and then move onto a lager.
We always have McLeod’s on tap. Their Longboarder lager is really good. It was me and my friend Simon’s favourite beer. They used to have it at Coco’s Cantina sometimes as a guest tap. When I started this bar, I thought I have to have it on tap at all times, so I approached them.