Cocktail recipes from the best bars in Auckland, New Zealand

With talk of a Trans-Tasman travel bubble still floating around – and looking promising – Aussies’ attention is split between their own magnificent backyard and the equally gorgeous landscapes and cities that await across the ditch.

Auckland should be front-centre of that vision, with its big-city lifestyle, dynamic dining scene gorgeous harbour, and wine-filled Waiheke Island. You’re going to be exploring all of that soon enough, but while you wait you might as well master a few cocktails from some of the city’s most exciting bars, from newbies on the scene to well-established local favourites. Once the bubble opens up, you may even be able to show the bartenders a thing or two.

“Stone Wall” by Ghost Donkey

Over 35 Mezcals and Tequilas sit on the shelf behind the vibrant bar at Ghost Donkey, one of the latest venues to open in Auckland and a necessary injection of Mexican soul to the growing community at Commercial Bay. The near-the-wharf precinct is richer for it, with Ghost Donkey a sequel to the already well-established and ridiculously popular small bar of the same name in NoHo, New York City. They’ve got some creative cocktails on the menu, and since it’s a brand new bar we decided to source the recipes for two cocktails – first, the “Stone Wall”, and then the “Mezcal Sunrisa”.


– 30ml Espolon Reposado
– 15ml Gracias A Dios Espadin joven
– 15ml Pomegranate liqueur
– 90ml Habanero infused apple juice (recipe below)


1. Make Habanero apple juice: take 10 slices of Habaneros and combine with 2L cold pressed apple juice. Leave to infused for 3 hours before straining. Keep refrigerated.
2. Combine all ingredients.
3. Fill a mule cup with ice.
4. Add all ingredients and stir to dilute.
5. Garnish with an apple fan.

“Mezcal Sunrisa” from Ghost Donkey


– 3/4 ounce (22ml) Tequila (preferably Cabeza)
– 3/4 ounce (22ml) Mezcal (preferably Montelobos)
– 6 ounces (177ml) bitter orange juice
– 3/4 ounce (22ml) hibiscus-habanero syrup (recipe below)
– Dehydrated lemon wheel for garnish


1. First make the Hibiscus-Habanero syrup with the following: 400g sugar, 400g water, 60g dried hibiscus flower, 50g sliced habanero pepper, 1 vanilla bean, 5 orange peels. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan set over medium high heat. Add hibiscus flowers, habanero, vanilla bean and orange peels. Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Allow it to cool before straining.
2. Combine the tequila, mezcal and bitter orange juice in a Collins glass over ice.
3. Carefully pour the hibiscus-habanero syrup over the top, to float.
4. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

“Lychee Highball” from The Poni Room

Also new and fresh-faced in the waterside precinct of Commercial Bay, The Poni Room is another bar that’s made the move from New York’s NoHo neighbourhood to Auckland. And it’s quickly become one of the most exciting bars in the city, with an modern izakaya-styled atmosphere and a seafood-centric menu overseen by Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie. It’s no surprise that the mod-Asian influence is also carried towards the fresh-forward cocktails. Seeing as it’s a new bar, we’ve sourced two recipes for you to enjoy at home – first the “Lychee Highball”, and then the “Dragon Highball”.


– 30ml Churchill white port
– 15ml Licor 42
– 20ml yuzu or lemon juice
– 30ml lychee coco
– 90ml club soda
– Dragonfruit cubes for garnish


1. Fill a highball with ice.
2. Mix ingredients then pour it all in.
3. Garnish with Dragonfruit cubes.

“Dragon Highball” from The Poni Room


– 45ml haku vodka
– 10ml St Germain elderflower
– 15ml yuzu or lemon juice
– 20ml dragon fruit cordial
– 90ml cucumber tonic
– Dragonfruit cubes for garnish


1. Fill highball with ice.
2. Mix ingredients then pour it all in.
3. Garnish with dragonfruit cubes.

“Grace Kelly” from The Jefferson

Imperial Lane hotspot The Jefferson is one of the best spots in Auckland for whisky enthusiasts, but the range here is much wider than one would expect. Yes, whisky is typically what you’d want here, but there are plenty of inventive cocktails to keep guests coming back for more. Try to master the “Grace Kelly” at home and keep this spot in mind for when that touted Trans-Tasman bubble becomes a reality.


– 45ml Vodka
– 10ml Frangelico
– 20ml fresh lemon juice
– 1:1 sugar syrup
– 2 tablespoons lemon curd.


1. Shake and fine strain into glass.
2. Top with meringue foam (recipe tips here)

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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