"Wish I was there" drink from Shine Cafe

Fancy a passionfruit cheesecake milkshake, a pineapple jalapeno fizzy, an iced coffee made with seaweed or an old-fashioned banana smoothie?

These are just some of the crazy and delectable drinks up for grabs when New Zealand’s only cold drink challenge kicks off in Lower Hutt this month.

The “Cool As” Summer Refresher Drink Challenge ™, into its seventh year, will see 17 hospitality operators including cafes, restaurants, bars, and a bakery in Lower Hutt create their own limited edition signature summer refresher drinks for people to enjoy over two weeks.

Customers are given the chance to vote for their favourite drink by a QR code located in each cafe, or on “Cool As Challenge ™” Summer Refresher’s Facebook, and Instagram pages, with the winning drink declared at the end of the challenge which runs until January 31. 

The challenge, founded by the Hutt City Council to inspire local cafes to be creative and attract people to the Lower Hutt CBD, has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2016. It was also the direct result of the successful Sweet As Hot Chocolate Challenge™, in which Central Hutt cafes create signature hot chocolates for customers to taste and rank over three weeks in winter.

Council’s City Centre Lead and organiser Cyndi Christensen says the challenge has a significant impact on the local economy, driving huge sales in participating cafes and increased foot traffic in the CBD.

Cutlers café, which participated in the challenge for the first-time last year said it had a huge impact on their business.

“It was actually great, 90% of the people that tried it were new customers for us and we managed to upsell with most of them. It’s a great way of encouraging people to check out cafes they don’t usually go to.” Kaz, Cutlers General Manager.

Creativity and innovation are once again shown through with this year’s entries. Customers can be treated to a Pokémon ‘Charizard’ inspired fruit slushy, ‘Kiwiana Perkynana’ the classic banana and chocolate combo, ‘Coffee and Chill’ a vegan coffee jelly infused dessert/beverage hybrid and ‘”Squeeze the Day, Nothing is Impopsicle” featuring homemade satsuma, lime and ginger syrup, Kapiti hokey pokey ice cream and real ginger beer – there is something to suit all taste buds.

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