The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Jason Clark’s Kissed By Marilyn

Jason Clark represented New Zealand at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

Bedford Soda & Liquor is the latest addition to Ponsonby Central which opened this year at the very heart of cool, artsy Ponsonby. Joining Toru Café, Little Tokyo, Wang Thong, Foxtrot Parlour and a produce market, Bedford Soda & Liquor is the first dedicated cocktail bar in this Boho haven halfway along Ponsonby Road. It takes its inspiration from the bars of New York, and offers a menu based on meatballs prepared in a variety of ways to accompany its delicious concoctions. Similarly the service standard is inspired by that of the US, and Japan, and the team offer premium level service in a relaxed, fun venue: ‘fine drinking with your shoes off,’ is how they describe it.

The Bartender

Jason Clark, 33, has wandered far and wide in his 15-year bartending career, from Venice to Jamaica and Melbourne to Amsterdam. He comes to Auckland after a stint advising at Bettys and Hummingbird in Wellington, and five years running his own club and cocktail bar, Debajo, in Queenstown. Mise en place is very important to Jason, since he believes it can allow a heightened drinking experience during busier times, effectively by preparing ingredients where possible in advance. ‘Getting a great reaction and creating memorable experience is what it’s all about for me,’ he explains, ‘I like to have a target market customer in mind and design something to meet and exceed their expectations.’

The Drink

Based on the frothy Silver Gin Fizz (aerated by the addition of egg white), Kissed by Marilyn evokes the frisson of a date with Marilyn Monroe. The drink is anchored by the full flavour of Tanqueray NO.Ten. It is blended with a homemade syrup that melds the waves of wood, fruit and the sweet West Coast smoke of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve with New Zealand Manuka honey, itself florid, rich and earthy. It is then served with a saffron-salt popcorn which invokes the savoury aromatics of the Tanqueray NO. Ten.

In full presentation mode the lip of the martini glass is sprayed with a lemon sugar syrup, and garnished with crumbled meringue and salted Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve toffee, to add further sensory impact.

The Technique

Tanqueray No. Ten • 50ml
Fresh lemon juice • 20ml
Fresh organic free range egg white • 20ml
Manuka honey with Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve syrup • 20ml
Bittermens grapefruit bitters • 5 drops
Contains 27 grams of alcohol per serve

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker using a stick blender. Hard shake with large hand cut ice. Pour into a chilled crystal martini glass.

Garnish with crumbled ‘stardust’ meringue and salted Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve toffee crystals on top. Serve with saffron salted popcorn.

Late afternoon is the place to head to Ponsonby Central, have a light bite and then sit back in this brand new bar, or al fresco if the weather permits, and enjoy this amazing cocktail, courtesy of Mr Clark and, of course, Miss Monroe. The experience is designed to appeal to all five senses, and should be preceded by the popcorn to invigourate the palate. Then the glass is licked before tasting to gain the full impact of the bitter, sweet, salty and sour flavours.

Typical of Jason’s flamboyant and colourful style, Kissed by Marilyn is a complex drink to enjoy in relaxing surroundings, and made for you by one of the best antipodean mixologists.

Images by Will Seal

Jason’s Insider’s Guide to Auckland

Place to eat
Ponsonby Central

Place to relax
Piha Beach

Place to Dance
The Roxy

Place to shop

Place to visit
Auckland Museum

Place to see
Cable Bay Vineyards