Zomato organized a bloggers’ meet at Bedford Soda & Liquor to give a sneak peek at the new (and yet unnamed) range of cocktails to be released in a month’s time. These cocktails are created by Phil Spector, Bedford’s bar manager and 2015 champion cocktail bartender.
Kieran, the duty manager, introduced us to the their philosophy. Bedford found its name when the owners each independently fell in love with the eclectic cocktail bars along Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, New York. They decided to bring the relaxed, comfortable style of cocktails back to Auckland.
What is a (mostly) teetotaler doing at a cocktail meet? Well, I like fancy beverages as much as the next person. My tolerance for alcohol is just a lower than the average person, make that a lot lower.
But first a couple of the current menu favourites. We eased into the lazy Sunday afternoon with the very pretty and easy-to-drink Vodka Daisy, with its notes of mandarin and passionfruit. Phil showed us the popular pitchers for sharing; Steaming Copper Kettle which made with Ketel One citron vodka, with notes of feijoa and green tea. The dry ice gave it a steaming effect, and nicely chilled the drink. I enjoyed the fresh flavours, especially as it wasn’t too sweet.
The first of the three new drinks is based on the Caribbean-style Missionary Downfall. Phil’s version is based on tequila and whisky (instead of rum), pineapple and mint with spiced bitters. This was smokey and dry.
The next is a twist of Bobby Burns, a whisky cocktail. Whisky, Phil advised, is a good way to add some bitterness to your drink without adding extra liquid. The twist is an infusion of coffee from beans, and flamed orange twist. This is a cool party trick, where you squeeze orange oil through a flame onto the cocktail.
The last is a version of the classic Italian style Negroni Sbagliato cocktail based on Muscat and Campari. This has raisin and apricot flavours with hints of chocolate, and a good party drink as the flavours develops as it dilutes from the melting ice.
After the cocktail lesson, we sat down to Bedford’s bar food starting with their famous meatballs. These generous meatballs came one their own, in sliders and in subs, with a range of sauces. You can choose any combination you like. Meatballs and cocktails are a combination made in heaven. I had the chicken and pesto slider, totally delicious. The chicken meatball was seasoned with Riesling, sage and onion.
We also got to taste their version of fried chicken. These moreish fried strips of crumbed chicken are complemented with a hickory smoked tomato and chili sauce. The tender squid with a crunchy polenta coating smothered with chipotle mayo was another win.
These guys know their stuff, and are more than happy to make you something to tickle your tastebuds. The food here is simple, comfort food, done well. Nestled into the hip Ponsonby Central, Bedford Soda & Liquor has continued to serve up some of the most innovative cocktails since opening in 2013.
Bedford Soda & Liquor
Shop 10, Ponsonby Central,
4 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 8877981
Open 7 days 12noon – 12 midnight