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A labour of love: Big Daddy’s

Metropol writer Nicholas Henare samples a few of the top tipples on offer at Big Daddy’s Liqour this month.

When I write about Big Daddy’s specials, I’m fortunate enough to sit down with him and try them. Each special is personally chosen by him to bring you exceptional value on an exceptional spirit. Trying the Chivas Regal American Rye straight is an experience and as Big Daddy believes: “Don’t judge something till you’ve tried it.” But just in case you want this as a cocktail, try 30mls of Chivas, 20ml of Campo Viejo Rioja, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml sugar syrup, 60ml of soda water and an orange wedge to garnish, over ice. It’s different but you will love it. This month also brings you Big Daddy’s special reserve, which is a stunning Kentucky bourbon from Big Daddy’s private barrel. Each beverage is an occasion to be shared with good friends.

700ml $99.99


Bruichladdich Classic Laddie: As smooth as pebbles in a pool, this one is clean and fresh with the oak and the grain in perfect harmony. It looks like sunlight on fields of barley, with a floral nose of buttercup, daisy and cherry blossom.


1L $99.99

Woodford Reserve “Big Daddy’s Barrel”: Big Daddy’s own special barrel of fine bourbon whiskey from the Woodford Reserve distillery, a perfect blend of Kentucky whiskey since 1812. Straight bourbon whiskey with over 200 flavour notes with bold grain and wood for your pleasure.


700ml $69.99

Grey Goose Vodka: Grey Goose is distilled in France using the traditions of the Maître de Chai. Using only two ingredients, single origin Picardie winter wheat and natural spring water, it is favoured by Vodka purists worldwide.


700ml $79.99

Twelfth Hour Dry Gin: Twelfth Hour Dry Gin is a small batch New Zealand gin with 22 iterations uniting global botanicals with makrut (kaffir lime). Clean and crisp on the nose, with a lingering finish, it makes a punchy gin.


700ml $56.99


Chivas Regal Extra 13yrs: Having tried this exceptional whisky, I’m adding it to my collection as should you. This is a 12-year whisky moved into an American rye cask for an extra year to give it an extra mellow blend. Think creamy milk chocolate with orange.


In your glass: Big Daddy’s liqour

A sophisticated tipple never goes astray. Metropol writer Nicholas Henare discovers the best drops at Big Daddy’s liquor stores this month.

The best martini I have ever had was at Seven Steak house in Minneapolis, and it took years to figure out how to replicate this amazing cocktail.

I mean how can you get it wrong? It’s just vodka or gin and dry vermouth, right? Wrong. Here’s the tip: Put your gin or vodka in the freezer along with your crystal drinking glass.

Freeze your shaker. Start with six parts vodka or gin and one-part dry vermouth. Place ice and alcohol in your shaker and do not shake it too long.

Pour into your ice-cold crystal glass and serve with a sliver of lemon peel or an olive. Now, a “dirty martini”: Just add a little olive brine and three olives. It is an acquired taste, but once you have a good one, you’ll be a convert. And if you use high quality ingredients, you can’t go wrong.


700ml, $69.99


Grey Goose Vodka: Grey Goose is distilled in France using the traditions of the Maître de Chai. They only use two ingredients – single origin Picardie winter wheat and natural spring water. Favoured by vodka purists worldwide, Grey Goose is the staple of many a great cocktail.


700ml, $69.99


Bowmore 12 Years: One of Islay in Scotland’s oldest distilleries, for 240 years it has been bringing the world a lemon and honey whisky with a peaty smokiness, dark chocolate flavours and a long and mellow finish. It’s a fantastic way to end a cool autumn day.


750ml, $79.99


Johnnie Walker Black: About 233 million bottles of this are produced every year – and there’s good reason why. It’s a great staple whisky from Scotland that most of us grew up with. Throw it together with ginger ale and you have a refreshing afternoon beverage. It’s at the top of bestselling whiskies since 1909.


700ml $89.99


Talisker 10 Years: This single malt whisky from the Isle of Skye was aged in American oak barrels for 10 years. A peaty little number with a touch of citrus. Warm with a pepper finish. Have a dram or two after a great autumn meal.


700ml $53.99

Roku Gin: The Japanese are known for their refinement. Roku is no exception. Roku is “six” in Japanese and stands for the six botanicals used in this stunning gin. Citrus, toffee and Juniper in a martini or just the gin with Fever Tree or East Imperial tonic and a slice of lemon and you have a quality cocktail in hand.


Exceptional, sustainable and fun: Gin Gin

Like the vast gin menu which introduces patrons to hundreds of exciting and interesting varieties of the spirit, Gin Gin’s cuisine menu serves up diverse and refined cuisine in a way which is approachable for all palates. From its new home on candy-coloured New Regent Street, the local favourite’s intriguing and delectable menu compliments its playful and fun interiors, and extensive drink selection.



When the popular bar began to outgrow its former Victoria Street home, Luke Dawkins, moved the operation to iconic New Regent Street with his business partner, Brett Giddens, and transformed it into a hospitality hot spot!

Spread across two storeys, marshmallow pink and forest green walls lead from room to plant-filled room. Through each arched doorway lies another seating area; a pink leather booth with a matching fringed light hanging above; low and curvy green velvet benches and pouffes; a marble topped bar with velvet stools, and sunny outdoor picnic tables.

“We want to give an experience and help people make memories,” says Luke. “We’ve tried to create a space where people feel super relaxed and have a nice time with nice food and nice drinks.”

And the experimental yet well thought out, seasonal menu certainly reflects this aim. Head chef Jackson Mehlhopt selects ingredients not only for the impact on the plate, but for their impact on the environment.

“We have some amazing produce and local suppliers we work with,” he says. “All of the fish we have is Gravity Fishing from Bluff. It is long line or spear-caught to order by the fisherman, Nate, and everything is delivered the next day.

“He catches only what is in season, which guarantees that there is no overfishing but also that the fish is guaranteed to be used.”

Local, seasonal ingredients are chosen not only for their impact on the plate, but for the impact on the environment.

This results in fresh, sustainably caught Albacore tuna, native blackfoot paua, deep-sea scampi appearing on Gin Gin’s menu.

“A lot of our food matches with gin,” says Luke. “A lot of our gin reflects the ocean, with sea kelp gin from Scotland, and Dancing Sands from Golden Bay uses sea kelp, too.”

Jackson uses Black Origin Wagyu, which combines ancient Japanese breeding genetics and techniques with New Zealand’s incredible grass, grain, water and air.

“The combination of traditional techniques used to raise the beef and so much care being taken to ensure they get the right nutrition, combined with New Zealand grain and New Zealand pastures, it creates a really unique to New Zealand product that we haven’t necessarily seen before,” says Jackson.

While the ingredients might sound exotic and intrepid, the dishes are not intimidating.

“The menu is approachable,” says Luke. “It’s not too out there or gastronomic, we want people to feel like they are trying something new, but we’re not pretentious or intimidating about it.”

In the kitchen, the carefully selected ingredients are transformed into seasonal dishes using zero waste principles.

“Zero waste means maximising the product and giving the product the most respect we can,” says Jackson.

For example, beautiful stocks are created from leftovers likes fish heads and bones, which is in turn used for sauces. Foraged flowers and herbs are used for garnishes, and in-house fermentation makes perfect pickles.

The result? A beautifully unique seasonal menu which, for autumn, features sharing plates and standalone mains like scampi donuts, burrata, fried paua bites, red wine poached octopus, hand stretched pizzas and a sweet Weet-Bix slice.

When it comes to a drink match, options really do seem endless.

Over 120 gins from every corner of the world are complemented by local tap beers and a wine list peppered with the best of North Canterbury drops, as well as those from farther afield, and its own house red, too.

The gin renaissance of recent years means Gin Gin’s offerings are popular with a wide demographic, something Luke attributes to what started as a pop up concept in 2018, becoming a now permanent fixture in the city.


In your glass: Big Daddys

A sophisticated tipple never goes astray. Metropol writer Nicholas Henare discovers the best drops at Big Daddy’s liquor stores this month.

I catch up with Big Daddy’s regularly to see what’s new each week, and see first-hand the great pride taken in making sure that the world’s finest whiskies, gins, liqueurs, champagnes and so much more are brought to you.

A whisky-loving friend had doubts that Big Daddy’s collection could be as diverse as his taste, but his jaw dropped as we perused the stock at the Blenheim Road store. It isn’t just about surprising even the most elite of beverage connoisseurs, even if you don’t know your Laphroaigs from your Glenmorangies, a great drink awaits you at a great price so everyone can enjoy something special.

So as the Scottish say when raising a glass, Slainte!


Teeling Blackpitts Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Chatting with Martin Lynch from Teeling, he says inspiration came from gold medal winning Teeling single malt, triple distilled. Using smoked peat to dry the barley, this whiskey is for the connoisseur looking for a very peaty flavour.

700ml $99.99


The Macallan 12 Years Double Oak

This forms part of the Double Cask range which marries the classic Macallan style and the unmistakable sweetness of American oak. This is a fully rounded single malt in perfect balance, with flavours of honey, citrus and ginger.

700ml $129.99



The Glenlivit Illicit Still

Inspired by our origins and made how our liquid was first crafted in the early 1800s, this drop is aged 12 years to perfection. Bottled at 48 percent abv, this limited-edition malt has not been chill filtered, giving you an authentic taste of history.

700ml $69.99


H Lanvin & Fils Champagne 

Champagne, the best of bubbles. A pale, gold champagne colour with fine notes and continuous bubbles. Fruity and sweet with notes of plum and raspberry jam, warm brioche and honey. Fresh and soft on the palate and finishes with a lemon flavour.

750ml, $39.99


Kraken Spiced Rum

The Kraken is an imported rum from the Caribbean. Named after the sea beast of legend, the rum is strong, rich, black and smooth. Aged in oak barrels for 12 months, and with aromatic notes of cinnamon, ginger and clove. Excellent by itself, fantastic in an exotic cocktail.

700ml $59.99


Choc-tail masterclass

While the Easter holiday means different things to everyone, there’s no doubt the long weekend as we know it is about indulging with loved ones. So, Metropol has gone on an Easter egg hunt for the chocolatey cocktails to try this long weekend.



The ultimate adult chocolate egg is here, thanks to culinary writer Sara McCleary’s Easter egg shots. All you need is 30ml Kahlúa, 30ml vodka, 30ml Irish cream liqueur, 30ml full cream milk, one cup of ice. Blend ingredients until smooth and serve immediately in hollow Easter eggs with the tops sliced off.

Put that chocolatey spin on a cocktail classic. Add 60ml vanilla vodka and 30ml crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake in a Bond-like fashion (not stirred) and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an Easter egg, and “salt” the rim with sugar and cinnamon (or chilli for an extra kick).

If you’re not so chocolate inclined, try a tipple inspired by the other Easter treat, a hot cross bun. Shake 40ml spiced gin, 15ml cinnamon and saffron spiced syrup, 60ml pressed apple and a lemon twist together. Pour into a martini or rock glass, leaving the lemon twist in, and garnish with star anise.


Pick a piquette

One old drink is gaining new popularity for its low alcohol content and fresh, light flavours. Meet piquette, the Centuries-old mellow and humble wine-ish beverage having its moment in the sun (again).



This drop is a low alcohol wine made from the second pressings of grape pomace (the pulpy residue after grapes have been crushed), mixed with water and left to ferment – creating a refreshing, earthy flavour and subtle fizz.

Steeped in tradition, the brew dates back centuries where it was widely enjoyed throughout Europe, and in the 19th Century, was popular with farm and winery workers for lunch.

More recently, piquette has taken off around the world as winemakers look to reduce waste and reuse the pomace created during winemaking, and consumers have – quite literally – lapped it up.

In New Zealand, beer behemoths Garage Project have whipped up its Little Crush range, and Alex Craighead Wines’ canned Kindeli is gaining a following, too.

Fans of pét-nat, another trending wine-but-not-as-you-know-it, may be drawn to piquette – but those who have never heard of either should also consider giving it a try, too.

Watch this space, piquette is picked to become a trending drop of this year and beyond.


In your glass: Big Daddy’s Liqour

Did you know that the word “whisky” means that it comes from Scotland, and “Scotch” and “whiskey” (with an e) generally means that it comes from Ireland? Every beverage has a story and each its own taste, colour and nuance – and it’s these nuances that make choosing your beverage something very personal.

I catch up with Big Daddy’s regularly to see what’s new each week, and see first-hand the great pride taken in making sure that the world’s finest whiskies, gins, liqueurs, champagnes and so much more are brought to you.

A whisky-loving friend had doubts that Big Daddy’s collection could be as diverse as his taste, but his jaw dropped as we perused the stock at the Blenheim Road store.

It isn’t just about surprising even the most elite of beverage connoisseurs, even if you don’t know your Laphroaigs from your Glenmorangies, a great drink awaits you at a great price so everyone can enjoy something special.

So as the Scottish say when raising a glass, Slainte!

Chivas Regal

Rich and sweet with concentrated notes of red stewed apples, homemade orange marmalade, honey, cinnamon and juicy sultanas, selectively finished in Cognac casks. The standard of any gentleman’s whisky cabinet.

700ml, $49.99


Glenfarclas 12 year single malt whisk

Matured in 100 percent Oloroso sherry casks this tastes of fresh and beautifully light sherried fruit with a spicy sweetness and a hint of sappy oak. Full-bodied with a spicy finish.

1 litre, $82.99


The Botanist Islay Dry Gin


This comes from the same distillery responsible for the Scottish Single Malt Bruichladdich. The combination of nine classic gin botanicals and 22 locally sourced herbs and flowers makes this gin a true exploration of the botanical heritage of the Isle of Islay.

700ml, $79.99

Laughing Club Gin


In 1928 at Raffles Hotel in Singapore the legendary raconteur Lord Geoffrey Reardon founded the Laughing Club. Now, the exclusive recipe he created has been brought back. Combining deep artisan water with exotic botanicals triple distilled in copper pot stills – this is like drinking silk.

700ml, $79.99




Knockando has been producing whisky in Moray since 1898 in the Strathspey whisky producing area of Scotland. From a small village surrounded by trees, this single malt 12-year-old isn’t complex but has a great fruit sweetness with notes of cinnamon and toffee.

700ml, $79.99


The tipple effect

Late summer is the perfect time to whip out all the refreshing cocktail concoctions many mastered during the infamous lockdown. Whether you need a refresher or additional recipes to add to your repertoire, Metropol has collated cocktails of choice so you can sip away the last of the long, warm summer days.




The Mix’s recipe for this classic is quick, easy and serves 10 people – awesome for those barbeques and catchups. It only requires 500ml of Pimm’s, 1L of both lemonade and ginger ale, fresh cucumber, mint and seasonal fruit. There’s no real art to putting this together, as you simply do just that… put it all together. Serve in a glass bowl or dispenser for added pizzaz.

Nadia Lim comes to the rescue (again) with a delectable recipe for traditional sangria. It calls for one bottle of Spanish red wine; 400 to 500ml of dry lemonade; 1½ cups of orange juice; 1/2 lemon, juiced; one orange and lemon both sliced; and lots of ice cubes. Lim suggests letting the mixture sit in the fridge so the flavours can meld together, before adding the ice.

Liquor King tingle our tastebuds with this fruity mix with a kick. You will just need 30ml of vodka, 15ml passionfruit syrup, ½ cup canned peaches, 20ml lemon juice, 30ml orange juice, ice and fresh mint. Throw all of your ingredients into a blender and hit go. Garnish with mint, enjoy your cocktail for one… and maybe four or five more after that.


Sip into summer

Refreshing, thirst quenching and palate-pleasing – there’s nothing quite like sipping a cocktail on a balmy afternoon or evening. With a suite of fresh ingredients to choose from, body temperatures to regulate and socialising to be done – summer is an acceptable excuse to get inventive with your imbibements.



While classic concoctions will always have their place, why not flex your mixologist muscles and introduce some new tricks into your tipple repertoire. A chilli margarita is a spicy twist on an old crowd pleaser, while watermelon is a sweet and refreshing addition to modernis e a mojito, and replacing regular rum with gin creates a Light ‘n’ Stormy.

Exercise your right brain by experimenting with new ingredients, textures and colours and learn some new flavour combinations to add to your aperitif arsenal. Have you heard of sparkling shiraz spiked with vanilla ice cream to make a very grown up spider? What about a fruit salad punch, or substituting liquor altogether with an alcohol-free spirit?

Take advantage of the seasonal fruits, flowers and herbs and get creative with your garnishes. Whether it’s a slice of citrus with a sprinkle of berries and handful of fresh mint or twig of rosemary. Or, freeze some beautiful blooms in ice cubes, mix up a sweet, salty, spicy (or all three) rim dusting, or pop in some pomegranate seeds or passionfruit pulp.


Oat of the ordinary

Oats have long been a mainstay of the breakfast buffet, but now oat milk is adding to the lineup. Yes oat milk has joined the ‘dairy alternative’ hall of fame alongside almond, rice, soy, cashew and coconut milk, except it seems this new option is trying its best to inch ahead of the rest.

Consumers are choosing oat milk for many reasons: texture, allergies, sustainability and best of all, it makes the perfect partnership with coffee.

It’s hard to fault it really… it’s creamy in texture, has multiple nutrition benefits and is environmentally friendly to produce. Makes you feel like you’ve been drinking coffee wrong all this time, doesn’t it?

Made through harvesting steel cut oats, soaked in water, blended and strained, oat milk has especially been admired for being environmentally sustainable.

It uses the least amount of water during its production compared to other plant-based milks and oat milk has a small carbon footprint.

Heathline raves about it online stating that “it’s naturally free of lactose, nuts, soy and gluten (if made from certified gluten-free oats)”.

Great news for the nut and lactose intolerant amongst us, oat milk provides yet another alternative for their caffeine hit.

Next time you’re getting your morning coffee, ask the barista if they’ve got some oat milk; you might just be pleasantly surprised.