Irish talk-show host, spirits distiller and Kiwi crowd-favourite Graham Norton has inspired a new locally-created cocktail that could be set to topple other tipples this summer – The Tayto-Tini – made with Graham’s very own Irish Vodka.
Auckland-based bartender and self-confessed tayto fanatic Dave Ryan, originally from Cork in Ireland, spent four weeks developing the innovative new cocktail, pairing the unlikely vodka and potato duo to share ‘a taste of home’ with New Zealanders.
The spud-a-licious cocktail was devised by Dave to accentuate the single Irish potato that Graham Norton’s new GN Vodka is made with, one in every bottle. The vodka is craft distilled and made in collaboration with New Zealand wine and spirits company Invivo. Produced in Graham’s hometown of West Cork, Ireland, the vodka is made from pure Mullaghmesha Mountain water, filtered through 300-million-year-old West Cork red sandstone.
Dave, who regularly enjoys starchy tubers in all its forms, says, “Irish potatoes are the best in the world. So I knew this vodka was going to be something special. And it didn’t disappoint. Graham Norton’s Irish Vodka has a creamy but earthy mouthfeel with hints of vanilla coming through and a refreshing finish.”
Dave created the cocktail with GN Vodka, house-made rosemary, thyme and sage cordial, shaken with a pinch of herb salt, finished with a splash of olive lemonade and topped with a salted parched potato garnish to “share the taste but also the feeling you get when you’re eating a roast potato.”
The Tayto-Tini will be available as a limited edition cocktail kit from 7 December from Auckland-based catering food and drink supplier Black Pineapple, whose ethos is that ‘life is too short to drink average drinks’. The decidedly unaverage Tayto-Tini cocktail box includes a bottle of GN Vodka, roast potato herb cordial, salted olive lemonade, a roast potato salt rub, parched potato garnishes plus coupettes and step jigger. Tayto-tini kits start at $159, contain 12 serves and ships nationwide. The kits can be ordered from the Black Pineapple website.
Rob Cameron, Co-Founder and Winemaker, Invivo & Co, says, “When we decided to make the Vodka with Graham, I could never have imagined that it would inspire a potato-based cocktail like the Tayto-Tini, the drink no one might have asked for but everyone will realise they need. However, I’ve tried it and it’s sensational!”
Dave has what he describes as an interesting link to Graham Norton, “As it goes, I’m pretty well connected to Graham. It’s a West Cork Thing. My mum works in a restaurant and one of her chefs is married to a woman who goes for tea every week with Graham’s mum. So, we’re practically family.”
A typical Christmas lunch in Ireland will feature an average of four types of potato as part of the meal. In Dave’s family home, for example, guests can expect roast potato, mashed potato, a gratin and for the turkey to be stuffed with a mix of potato and bread.
The Tayto-Tini, was devised after experimenting with different flavour combinations to ensure that the resulting drink was balanced and gives an exciting hint of roast potato without over-powering the delicate top notes of the vodka.
Dave hopes that his spud-based drink will become a festive favourite for New Zealanders because despite living in Auckland for 13 years, Dave says, “There’s always been something missing for me at Christmas here, and I realise now that it’s potatoes. I hope this cocktail will help tater lovers like myself to really get into the spirit this year.”
Tim Lightbourne, co-Founder and Director, Invivo & Co, concludes, “We are delighted to add Graham Norton’s Irish Vodka to our collaboration which now encompasses four wines, two Proseccos and three gins. Graham has a passion and an award-winning flair for blending perfection and we’re confident our new vodka will stand proud alongside its more established label mates. We’ve worked with Graham to source the all-important ingredients – water and potatoes – from his native West Cork and the resulting flavour profile is something truly distinctive.”
To purchase the Tayto–Tini cocktail box visit www.blackpineapple.co.nz. Graham Norton Irish Vodka, Gins and wines are now available at your local liquor store and bar or restaurant. To find your nearest stockist head to www.invivowines.com/Vodka.