Best Gin Bars In New Zealand 2016

2016-08-16 18.08.30Even though I have been mostly focused on acquiring different bottles of GIN this year, and doing my own tastings and self education, I have made it out to a few bars.

I have found that GIN is growing in popularity in New Zealand and several bars have made and effort to either grow their selection of GIN or even make the spirit selection or bar a focus on GIN.

Here is a list of GIN bars I have enjoyed so far this year. If you know of others please do share as I would love to check them out.



The Gin Room – 1st Floor, 12 Vulcan Lane, CBD. Over 80 GINs, and a good selection of different tonics.

The Cork Gin & Whiskey – 65A Mackelvie Street, Ponsonby connected to the back of Grand Central. Pretty good GIN selection, really good Whiskey selection.

My Bar – 12 Durham St E, Auckland, CBD. Not the the largest selection, but some interesting GIN and Asa is passionate about GIN.

Mea Culpa – 3/175 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. I haven’t been for a while, but they had a pretty decent selection GIN last time I was there.

Soul Bar – 16-18 Corner of Lower Hobson Street and Customs Street West, Viaduct Basin, CBD. Pretty limited selection, but make some of the best Martini’s and Negroni’s I’ve had in New Zealand.


Hawthorn Lounge – 82 Tory St, Te Aro. cocktail lounge, that has a GIN named after it. Lighthouse Hawthorn Edition (Navy Strength GIN). Great cocktails, decent selection of GIN.

Capitol – 10 Kent Terrace, Mt Victoria. had a fantastic Negroni here recently, before dinner.


Whet Bar – 151 Cambridge Terrace, CBD. A selection of some of the harder to find GINs in New Zealand. Very cool to try GIN you never see in New Zealand.

I’d love to find more places focusing on GIN in New Zealand, so I can share a list with people that love GIN.

Tasting Navy Strength Gin In New Zealand

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This week we did a tasting of the Navy Strength Gins we have. Since they are very strong I would suggest we try this again in a month or so, and possibly do it blind to see if we can replicate these results.

The standout was Perry’s Tot, with its bold and punchy character. The surprise because of preconceived bias was The West Winds The Cutlass. It has been a favourite gin for a long time now, but this new bottle from I guess a new batch comes across very sweet, and has a jammy character. It has seemingly lost its bright and engaging juniper character.

  1. Perrys Tot – punchy juniper
  2. Plymouth – clean well balanced, great for a martini
  3. Four Pillars – with that fun Australian botanical twist
  4. Broadside – salty, but sweet
  5. The Cutlass – new batch is jammy and sweet, old batch could have been 2nd
  6. Pickerings – good
  7. Rogue Society Goldi Locks – good

Lighthouse Hawthorn – soapy, not in a good way
Old Raj – lacked character, underwhelming
Sipsmith VJOP – once a favourite, but juniper just doesn’t deliver, and has a grainy husky spirit note


Time To Drink More Gin In New Zealand

2016-06-08 18.26.14Since starting an Instagram account in the last month I have been sampling more gin. Just for the photos, and flavours of course. I have found this a fun way to share the journey and discovery of gin with others.

Check me out at

I want to blog more but find at the end of the day I just want to have a gin, and don’t want to spend too much time thinking or writing about it, and just enjoy the aromas and flavour.

This blog will have bursts of activity at times and there will be alot of new content all of a sudden. Then other times not so much for some time. Best you stay connect firstly by Instagram and secondly on Facebook on the page Gin Lovers New Zealand

An example of the flurry of content in a short amount of time a while ago can be seen at

I wrote this not long ago “Gin is the new IPA” it is a collection of start thoughts and blog posts over a few years.

Trinidad and Tobago calls champion New Zealand cocktail maker

On February 2 the Englishman is jetting to Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country off the coast of Venezuela.

There he will compete in the Angostura Global Cocktail, competing alongside some of the best bartenders in the world for US$10,000.

Born and raised in London, Attfield now lives in Eden Terrace. He arrived in Auckland just three months ago after his visa ran out while living in Melbourne.

Attfield says he never intended to be a competition bartender – he entered on a whim after being encouraged by a friend.

“I thought while I’m here I may as well do it so I just knocked up a couple of drinks and it happened to go pretty well.”

Attfield is already a part-owner of the Gin Room, a prestigious establishment on Vulcan Lane.

Career bartending was a natural calling for him after sitting in an office for two years drove him to boredom.

“I think it’s the constant interaction and getting to meet new people every day,” Attfield says.

Working in a dynamic industry also keep things exciting, he says.

“There are always new products, there’s always stuff you can learn and new techniques. It’s an industry that’s always advancing and there’s always something for you to latch on to.”

Since arriving in Auckland he’s found plenty of opportunity as there’s still a few holes in the New Zealand market, he says.


Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition – DUTY FREE FAIL

2015-08-03 18.36.17 Back in May when coming back through duty free at Auckland International Airport I came across a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition.

At the time Star of Bombay had just been released and it looked very much like this bottle I ended up purchasing.

I asked the guy at the duty free store if this was Star of Bombay and he said yes. I was excited. The bottle was priced at $165 (and that was the duty free price, WOW!) I was thinking this must be really good as this was outrageously expensive. A little tired after my time away and just getting off a late night flight, I fell for the up sell, from the guy that knew I was never going to see him again.

Once home I tried it and wasn’t that impress when considering how much I paid for this.

It gets even more disappointing. On opening the very expensive Bombay Sapphire, the plastic cork detached from the beautiful stopper. Massive sad face. 2015-05-17 12.07.39

I’m thinking that someone was taking the piss on the price. At $65.00 a bottle it would have been fair value for something special from Bombay Sapphire. I can’t see where the extra $100 premium a bottle comes in.

Should I be unhappy with Bombay Sapphire? the duty free sales guy? the duty free store? or me for being naive at buying an overprice gin?

Fords Gin in New Zealand

2015-08-03 18.38.12I picked up a bottle of Fords Gin at Brisbane Duty Free in Australia when I was leaving on Saturday. Today I had a bit of a tasting. Found that Fords has more of an oily resiny juniper character than the likes of Gordon’s and Beefeater. When I tasted it beside Tanqueray 10 and Tanqueray Export Strength, it didn’t have either the citrus or juniper, but it was more spicy, or sharp in the alcohol. This was interesting and was unsure why.

Next was a G&T with Fords Gin and Fever Tree Tonic. There was still a sharpness from the alcohol. Even when adding lime. Then the next G&T with Fords Gin and Schweppes. BOOM. Fords Gin with Schweppes Tonic was the winner. The extra sweetness balance out the sharpness of the alcohol and made it a magical drink.

This brings me back to the thought of does Tanqueray have sugar or glycerol to add mouth feel to balance the burn of alcohol??

So much to learn. Very interesting to get the right tonic to balance your gin.

FUTURE: Fords Gin works best with Schweppes Tonic.