Cocktail-lovers in the capital have a busy month ahead, with more than 80 new drinks rolled out around the city for Cocktail Wellington.
The annual drink challenge runs concurrently with Visa Wellington on a Plate, encouraging the city's bartenders to put forward their wildest alcoholic and non-alcoholic creations.
A new entrant to the festival this year is cocktail bar Lovebite, which opened last November, and unveiled their summer-inspired cocktail and mocktail creations over the weekend.
Titled "Audio oil for the disco soul", the cocktail pairs gin with pineapple, coconut tea bitters, orange and cardamom bitters, and lemon to create the sense of "everlasting summer".
LoveBite owner Peter Lowry said they had wanted to bring "a touch of summer to August in Wellington" and had been particularly inspired by one of their favourite summer events in the city, Garden Magic.
Accompanying the Southward Distilling "Garden Magic gin" and pineapple cordial from Six Barrel Soda company is a slightly less orthodox ingredient - olive oil.
"We wanted that sense of an everlasting summer, so we really wanted that flavour to hold and stick around," Lowry said.
"And that's why we've introduced a little touch of Lot Eight Flavours of Aotearoa olive oil.
"That little touch of fat just sits on your lips and your tongue and cheeks and just holds all those really complex flavours for an everlasting summer."
Lowry said the idea of celebrating summer was also in keeping with the "Out of Place" theme of Wellington on a Plate 2021.
"I do find it quite funny that we've then gone for a very summery cocktail, bringing out one of the best elements of summer in Wellington," he said.
"Hopefully we feel like people will be able to enjoy summer in August."
The cocktail was also "garnished with a gig" in the form of an 80s-style cassette recording, and paired with a chippie sandwich with whipped Kiwi dip butter.
As with all Cocktail Wellington creations, there was also an alcohol-free version: "Audio Soul with Self-control".
The inclusion of a mocktail and the addition of a small canape alongside the drinks were reflective of exciting trends in the drinks scene, Lowry said.
"It's a really interesting movement, both the non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic cocktail and the idea of cocktails and food becoming a synonymous pairing."
Lowry said the inclusivity of Wellington on a Plate was what set it apart from other food festivals around the world.
The cost of cocktails and burgers throughout the month made it relatively affordable to participate, and venues aimed to create menus that were inclusive of all tastes and dietary requirements.
"The nice thing with this festival is you don't have to go to a $200 to $300 event to be part of the festival and part of the event," he said.
"You can have a cocktail, you can go for a burger, and then you're part of the vibrancy and part of the conversation.
"For LoveBite as a bar it's all about being as inclusive as we can, for our cocktails not being elitist.
"And for Wellington on a Plate, that's the element of the festival I really appreciate, and that's what I think makes it stand above any other food festivals internationally that I've taken part in."
After months of planning, Lowry said he was glad to finally be at the "exciting bit, or the tasty bit".
"I love Wellington on a Plate – I've pretty much been in Wellington as long as Wellington on a Plate's been on," he said.
"The great things about it are its now a month so one of the best ways to enjoy it is to take your time and move through.
"Get out and try what you can."