Global rivalry over cocktails

Having been selected to represent New Zealand, bartenders Guy Jacobson (left), Gian Jesus and Barney Toy are aiming for a superhero performance in the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup. Photo Christina McDonald.
Having been selected to represent New Zealand, bartenders Guy Jacobson (left), Gian Jesus and Barney Toy are aiming for a superhero performance in the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup. Photo Christina McDonald.
Amid animal-headed, lab-coat-wearing creatures, international barmen and women met in Queenstown yesterday to begin a week-long cocktail competition.

This year's 42 Below Cocktail World Cup theme is "Lab Experiment".

Throughout the week bartenders will attend seminars related to the industry, take part in extreme activities and compete to be crowned world champions.

The New Zealand team was announced on July 29 and team member Barney Toy said he hoped all the late-night phone calls and text messages between him and the other members would result in New Zealand's first win.

The team had devised a new "concept" for its signature drink.

"New Zealand has always placed second or third and we are going for it this year.

"We're trying to do something that's never been done.

"We have to think of new ways to deliver them [cocktails] so we have figured out a new concept, a twist on a concept."

42 Below judge and vodka professor Jacob Briar said the competition had had a positive effect on local bartenders who are influenced and encouraged by some of the world's best.

Mr Briar said the New Zealand team made it through "rigorous" testing and all exhibit "three very different personalities and different skill sets".

The final event will be in Auckland on Friday, but once again the bulk of the competition would be based in Queenstown.