A little taste of South America with a splash of tropical fruit resulted in a Tauranga bar tender taking out the regional heats of an international cocktail mixing competition.

Dion Wall, from Syndicate Bar and Bistro, was crowned Tauranga's top mixologist at the Bay of Plenty regional heats of this year's 42Below Cocktail World Cup.

Now, Mr Wall will compete for a spot in the New Zealand team at the national finals in Wellington on July 29. The grand finals of the World Cup will take place in Queenstown on September 3.

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The regional competition was held at Syndicate on Tuesday night and was Mr Wall's first time in the competition, which has run for eight years.

"I was pretty shocked. When they announced my name I was like 'are you kidding?" Mr Wall said.


Inspiration for the cocktail came from Mr Wall's travels around South America.

"I lived in Argentina for a year and in that area and around Mexico, they drink a bit of tequila and lots of chillies, so I thought I would incorporate those sorts of things together and give it a new sort of twist."

The cocktail - dubbed AK42 as a play on words - comprises high-quality tequila, mango nectar, lime, passionfruit and egg white.

"The egg white makes it silky smooth to drink, so you could drink it all night without any of that bite you normally would have with margaritas."

Mr Wall said he was pleased with the win, especially as his competitors came up with "awesome" creations.

Other finalists were Scott Hinton of Rain Bar in Papamoa, Michael Julian of Astrolabe in Mount Maunganui, Dave Burbery also of Syndicate and Hamilton mixologists Gordon Carlyle and Krystal Booker.

Judge Jeremy Baker said what judges liked about the AK42 was "it was really well balanced".

"It didn't have an overly strong alcohol taste but you knew you were drinking a cocktail, all the chillies and all the flavours worked really well," Mr Baker said.

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"We were really surprised at how the tequila and vodka worked together - tequila typically overpowers any other flavour but the flavours in this really supported each other."

Mr Baker said all entries were of a high standard and Tauranga and Hamilton had really stepped up in the industry.

The AK-42

  • 30 ml 42b Passion

  • 30ml 1800 Jose Cuervo

  • 60ml mango nectar

  • Three quarters of a fresh passion fruit

  • One dash of passion fruit pulp

  • One dash of egg white

  • One squeeze of a wedge of lime

  • Add all contents together.

  • Rim martini glass with ground vanilla sugar and chilli flakes.