Nicky Park: The craft of cocktails

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I like tequila. That means I'm excitable according to one of America's best bartenders.

New York-based cocktail maker, Steve Schneider, says you can tell a lot about a woman by her preferred poison.

"A tequila girl, she's peppery, she's spicy. And if she likes shots then she wants to party," says the former military Marine.

Vodka drinkers tend to be calorie conscious and gin women like to explore and aren't afraid of flavour.

Schneider is one of a bevy of colourful cocktail makers flown in to Queenstown to compete in the 42 Below World Cocktail Championships.

When I was invited to check out the week-long event I wasn't sure what was in store. I expected a lot of booze and my colleague warned me that things could get weird, but it wasn't until I touched down in the snowy city that I really believed it.

Men dressed in animal masks and lab coats sip cocktails, dancing to dub step as a bunch of bartenders are thrown off the second-highest bungee jump in the world.

Helicopters take us to the top of mountains for cocktail-making comps involving ingredients like Persian fairy floss, quince nectar and air-dried bacon.

Everyone is a festive mood, all the time. (That could be tied to endless supply of vodka. Seriously, it's endless).

Good bartenders are charismatic. They shake and stir with a cheeky grin "luring the women in," as Schneider puts it.

Throw the best of the bunch from around the world in a room together and you've got the heaving five-day palooza that I get to be part of.

Follow Nicky Park on Twitter.

Nicky Park is a guest of 42 Below vodka.

Nicky Park

Editor of Life & Style.

Nicky lives to wine, dine and thrive. As Life & Style Editor at the New Zealand Herald online, she feels lucky she can call this work. Nicky crafted her writing skills as a cadet for an Australian news wire. Amongst the coverage of sport, news, finance and courts she found a favourite in features. A stint as a foreign correspondent sent this chipper Aussie across the Tasman, covering the big issues of the Pacific Islands. Every single day Nicky relishes the opportunities she has to mix and mingle with interesting people, feast on delicious food, visit new places and write all about it. Nicky wants everyone to make the most of their minutes, learn lots and live their best life.

Read more by Nicky Park

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