Eveline Harvey is nzherald.co.nz's travel editor.

Cocktail World Cup contestants take the plunge

42 Below Cocktail World Cup judge David Wondrich bungy jumps off the Kawerau Bridge in the lead-up to the week-long competition in Queenstown. Photo / Supplied
42 Below Cocktail World Cup judge David Wondrich bungy jumps off the Kawerau Bridge in the lead-up to the week-long competition in Queenstown. Photo / Supplied

Jetlagged contestants at the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup were given an adrenaline-filled introduction to their week in Queenstown yesterday.

Without so much as an hour to acclimatise, team members who had travelled from as far as Scotland non-stop, were taken to the Kawerau Bridge Bungy for a bracing 43-metre plunge.

It was a fitting start to the competition - the seventh of its kind - which has come to be recognised as one of the world's most extreme cocktail making contests.

Seven teams from Italy, London, Scotland, Europe (France and Ireland combined), the USA, Australia and New Zealand are competing for top honours.

Over the course of the week, bungy jumping will be followed up by a variety of cocktail-making challenges, many of them incorporating aspects of the thrill-seeking activities New Zealand's adventure capital is so famous for.

The judges - drinks writer and historian David Wondrich, Bar Awards Australian Bartender of the Year Jason Williams, 42 Below stalwart Jacob Briars and industry legend Salvatore Calabrese - also took the plunge yesterday, as did Playboy Playmate Jordan Monroe, who is in town to cover the fun-filled contest for Playboy's websites.

However the jump didn't come easily to Monroe, 24, who admitted she was terrified beforehand.

"I was holding onto the bridge... my arm was wrapped around it and I couldn't even step forward," she said.

"I did not think I was going to make it but something switched and I was like 'ok, let's just go', and we just went."

Monroe opted for a tandem bungy and said she didn't think she could have gone through with it on her own.

She said she enjoyed the experience as it had helped her conquer her long-held fear of heights.

The Nebraska native is one of two Playmates in town for the cocktail world cup.

Fellow model Ashley Hobbs' fear of heights proved too great for her to entertain a bungy jump but she said she was looking forward to her week in New Zealand regardless.

The 21-year-old, from Hawaii, was game to partake in other activities - like this morning's Shotover Jet ride - which doubled as the first competition event for contestants.

Each of the teams had eight minutes to mix a 'modern mocktail' on the banks of the Shotover River before climbing aboard a jetboat to complete the shaking and pouring as they sped through the river's canyons.

Team London - Zdenek Kastanek, Andy Mil and Glenn Morgan - took out the first challenge.

Each of the four challenges over the coming days can gain a team up to five points, with the final contest on Friday night counting for 80 points.

Tickets are available for the grand final on Friday night, with all proceeds going to the Christchurch earthquake relief fund.

* The 42 Below Cocktail World Cup final is at the Lake Hayes A&P Showground on Friday, March 18 at 7pm. Tickets are $42 and include two free cocktails and transport from Queenstown to and from the venue. See 1-night.co.nz for tickets.

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