Taste of Auckland: The masterclasses

If watching others at work just isn't quite enough, Taste has you covered with their incredible series of masterclasses in the delicious essentials of whisky, cocktails and coffee.

Gravity's Stu Hargie. Photo / Supplied
Gravity's Stu Hargie. Photo / Supplied

THE MIX LIVE

Likely to be one of the most-visited beverage spots at Taste, The Mix Live brings you masterclasses in that most summer-friendly of drinks, the cocktail. Resident drinks expert Frankie Walker talks us through why he's expecting a crowd.

"We're not just giving out a drink or running a bar, we're bringing the concept and putting it front of people, and giving them the opportunity to actually make the drinks themselves.

"[Making cocktails] doesn't have to be complex, you don't have to juggle bottles around. We'll teach you a few techniques, you'll have an experience you've never had before ... then you can make more drinks at home."

"You will learn to make the world's greatest mojito. You will learn to make a margarita - possibly in a jam jar, which is a pretty good way of doing the measurements. They will be fresh and delicious and easier than you thought. Expect nothing with double cream or coconut suntan lotion-flavoured rum!"

GRAVITY COFFEE MASTERCLASSES

Gravity are in charge of the coffee masterclasses, with four to choose from.

"Coffee From Around the World" is a delicious journey led by Stu Hargie - Gravity's coffee guru and New Zealand's only Q-Certified coffee grader - and head brewmaster Matt Greenwood. You'll experience coffee from far-flung spots like El Salvador and Brazil and closer-to-home locations like Sumatra and Papua New Guinea, learn how various growing regions produce vastly different flavour profiles, plus you'll get to taste and compare blends in this interactive taste discovery - and never look at coffee the same way again.

"Barista at Home" is for the true coffee connoisseur who wants to make their own great coffee.

New Zealand and Asia Pacific's barista champ Aymon McQuade and Gravity's specialist barista trainer Rob Hulse will guide you through brewing methods from soft brew to espresso, how to use a Chemex and siphon, and how to froth the perfect milk for your latte.

"Coffee From Pick to Pack" will take you from picking the crop right through to the espresso that ends up in your cup. Learn what it takes to produce great coffee blends and create your own bespoke blend from different origins around the world to take away with you.

Finish up with "Coffee After Dark" where you'll see passionate coffee connoisseur Gary Dalhousie in action, flanked by The Tasting Shed's Ganesh Raj and the Herald's Bite food writer Warren Elwin, and discover how coffee and gourmet nosh go hand in hand. Try your hand at traditional New York coffee-rubbed pork or an after dinner mint coffee lamington, along with an espressotini to cap the night off.

WHISKY EXPERIENCE

The Whisky Shop is on hand to ensure you experience whisky to its fullest, with all masterclasses giving you the opportunity to sample a wide range of whiskies, learn how it's made, and how to nose and taste like a professional and gain an appreciation of the many different flavours.

"Whisky is such a popular drink because of the huge variety in the flavours and aromas that can be experienced," says The Whisky Shop's Katey Rudlin. "It's the most complex and versatile of all the spirits. There really is one for all occasions. It's also seen as a bit of a status symbol - being seen to appreciate a good single malt says as much about a guy as a Porsche or as much about a girl as a pair of Jimmy Choos."

Travel (virtually) to Scotland to sample the Arran Malt from one of the ancient country's youngest distilleries, sampling everything from a 10-year-old drop to a cask-finished one, dip into the classic malts including the famous smoky Lagavulin from the Isle of Islay or drink up some expert knowledge on international favourites Glenfiddich or Johnnie Walker.

* This is a Viva promotion.

- NZ Herald

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