CoCo at the Roxy mixologist Ray Letoa has taken out the top prize in the augural Capital Cocktail contest for his ‘Miramar Fizzy Pop’, a cocktail and tapas match inspired by the excitement and wonder of being a kid.
Capital Cocktail is the newest platform in Visa Wellington On a Plate, the country’s largest food festival. The contest ran across all 17 days of the culinary festival, with bars and restaurants creating a cocktail and tapas match using local ingredients and consumers encouraged to vote for their favourite.
Mixologist Letoa is excited to have taken out the top spot in Capital Cocktail, with his Miramar Fizzy Pop concoction. The beverage features lemongrass and pomegranate syrup with gin, lemon and lime juice, bitters and mango foam. It’s served alongside Island Bay Butchery free range popcorn chicken with a lemongrass and mango salsa, with a lemongrass lollipop and popping candy. The cocktail and tapas pairing received an average consumer vote of 9.8 out of 10.
“My mind started racing as soon as I heard that Wellington On a Plate had a bartending platform this year”, says Ray. “Miramar Fizzy Pop was inspired by watching kids who were visiting CoCo with their parents and were so enchanted and excited by cocktails. I made sure that our entry would translate well as a mocktail so kids and non-drinkers could partake in the frivolity and fun too”.
Ray is no stranger to cocktail championships, having taken out the People’s Choice award at the 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class National Finals. “I love working with local suppliers to get my hands on the finest ingredients for my cocktails, and Wellington On a Plate is the perfect time to really get behind Wellington producers”, says Ray.
The platform is sponsored by Cheers and Spirits New Zealand, and each cocktail’s standard drinks number displayed in the festival programme. The contest encourages responsible consumption of cocktails by making consumers aware of standard drinks and serving each beverage with a tapas match.
Robert Brewer from Cheers and Spirits New Zealand is happy to be encouraging responsible consumption of alcohol as a part of Wellington On a Plate. “Capital Cocktail shows how cocktails can be enjoyed responsibly alongside food and as part of a culinary experience. It’s great to be a part of the festival and this exciting new platform.”
Thirty-one bars and restaurants entered Capital Cocktail, comparable to the number of entrants in the first year of Burger Wellington, which this year had 80 restaurants competing.
Ray is already planning next year’s entry, hoping to make it even more impressive than this year’s, which is remaining on the CoCo menu for now.