What it’s like to bartend at the Oscars after-party

Subject to a strict schedule hosting a perennial spate of star-studded parties around the world, we gave Grey Goose’s Global Ambassador Joe McCanta a call to get the down low on the ins and outs of his ‘job’.

You’ve hosted some pretty amazing star-studded parties, including the Oscars’ Vanity Fair After-Party. Which has been your favourite so far?
“One of my absolute favourites was a couple of years ago. It was a dinner held the night before the Oscars hosted by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for the whole cast and crew of 12 Years a Slave. The great thing about it was that it was held at the beautiful Sunset Tower Hotel which overlooks the whole of Los Angeles. There were so many A-list actors there — Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name and few — no one else was allowed in. It was just me and these people. I remember it because there was something so intimate about that evening — everyone was so relaxed and celebratory. It helps that the next night, they cleaned up at the Oscars.”

Can you share an interesting anecdote with us?
“There are a few! I think one of the best was when Grey Goose was hosting a party at the Chateau Marmont. It was during Joaquin Phoenix’s I’m Still Here era when he took on a completely different persona. He grew all his hair out and everything. I ended up next to this rough looking guy in a corner of the room, as you do when you don’t want to be the centre of attention. He had dark sunglasses on and we ended up having a great half-hour conversation about film and music and when I finally walked away, someone was like, “You know that’s Joaquin Phoenix right?” I had no idea. He was nominated that year for Best Actor.”

What is trending at the moment in terms of the kind of cocktails that people prefer?
“I think people are moving towards more savoury notes. Vermouth cocktails are very popular, as are lower alcohol cocktails. Five years ago, it was all about prohibition drinks — big, old, bourbon and gin cocktails that were just too huge on the palette. Now, people are going for something a bit more delicate.”

What kind of cocktail would you create for a Denizen?
“I think the Denizen reader has a lot of discernment and they’re quite charming as well. It would be something served in a flute, along the lines of a Le Fizz (Grey Goose’s signature cocktail), but then enwrapped in some really interesting aromatics. I’m really into the idea of perfuming on top of cocktails with things like orange water or rose blossom to play on the aromatic tastes and smells.”

What do you love about the Grey Goose product?
“Grey Goose kind of created the whole category of ‘super premium vodka’ and we did it very simply, by just sticking to our guns. It was about having the best ingredients. For us, that is the best French wheat — the same wheat that is used in the finest breads — and having one person who actually makes the product, our cellar master, Francois Thibault. He tastes every batch. I think that captures everything about French spirit making.”

Image credit: GQ

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Turns out coffee butter is a thing — and it’s good

As if my breakfast long black, mid-morning Americano and afternoon Nespresso weren’t caffeine enough, the fine folk of the culinary world have seen fit to further my absolute bean reliance by inventing coffee butter. A smooth spread that sees finely ground coffee mixed with homemade butter, the earthy toast topper is a delectable one to slather (in moderation) over your muffins, scones, pastries and croissants.

Recipe
2 cups Lewis Road double cream
¾ cup ground coffee
2 tablespoons icing sugar
pinch of salt
muslin or cheesecloth

Add cream to an airtight container, stir in the coffee grounds then seal and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, strain the coffee mix, squeezing as much liquid through as possible, toss the coffee grounds and pour the strained liquid into a food processor. Add sugar and salt then process the mix until it begins to solidify into butter. Transfer into the muslin and wring out any excess liquid. Pop into a butter dish, finish with a generous pinch of sea salt and enjoy immediately or leave in the fridge for later.

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Make way — the wide leg trouser trend is here

A welcome departure from the über-tight trousers that have dominated the style scene for the better part of a decade, in recent seasons, wide-leg pants have begun to gather momentum. A sophisticated style originally mastered by the likes of Bianca Jagger and Lauren Hutton, the tailored trouser is a worthy wardrobe staple with the ability to be effortlessly dolled up or dressed down. A masculine style that works just as well with a sharp blazer and shirt as it does a slinky singlet, herewith we present some of our favourite voluminous numbers.

Zimmerman Stranded trouser from Superette
Ginas striped cotton-terry pants from Net-a-Porter

Henrik Vibskov from The Shelter
Acne Studios Isa cropped wool pant from Net-a-Porter

Liam Hera pant from Ruby
C&M Sterling Pant from Camilla and Marc
Paris Georgia Basics Marnie Trouser from Simon James Design

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The machine behind the The Caker’s incredible baked masterpieces

Those who bake — and we’re talking more than just the odd batch of cupcakes — know that owning a good mixer is imperative. And the latest essential bench top accomplice that will see you putting all those cake-making Instagram sensations to shame? Well, that would have to be Kenwood’s new kMix Stand Mixer.

No matter whether you’re whipping up epic fresh bread, show-stopping cakes or Pavlovas that show up your mother’s seemingly unsurpassable talent, this nifty new device features a glass bowl that will make your kitchen bench pop as well as all the accessories — the K-Beater, whisk and dough hook — necessary for letting your creative juices flow in the kitchen.

Just one part of the multifaceted appliance range which also features an unbeatable Thermoresist blender, a bagel perfecting toaster and a temperature select kettle (each available in four timeless colours of Spicy Red, Rich Black, Fresh Cream and Cool White), this is the mixing machine — used by none other than The Caker herself, a.k.a Jordan Rondel — is made for the modern baker who takes him/herself very seriously indeed.

For more information on the range, click here.

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Colette outdoor

Elevate your interior with a chair of sophisticated extravagance

We’ve long admired the aesthetic superiority of Italian furniture greats Minotti, and the mid-century inspired elegance their pieces bestow upon any room. Drawing crowds to the design high ground that is Il Salone — otherwise known as the Milan fair — the masters of sophistication have unveiled their latest masterpiece, the Colette arm chair. Shrouded in fine metal rods finished in lustrous gold or gunmetal coatings, the Colette is being heralded as one of this year’s stand out designs. Presented in an outdoor version to boot, this beautiful new classic is due to land at local showroom ECC later this year.

ECC

39 Nugent Street
Eden Terrace
Auckland

(09) 379 9680

ecc.co.nz

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H&M’s über coveted new eco-friendly collection drops tomorrow

The ironic inclusion of a fishnet bag made entirely from recycled shoreline waste is a particularly nice touch.

When we think of sustainable fashion, very rarely is it that sequin-scattered cocktail dresses, evening gowns and tuxedos come to mind. So when H&M released its exquisite new Conscious Exclusive Collection, we will be the first to admit — our perceptions were pushed. Because not only are the styles a decidedly elegant offering, they also happen to be made from some rather intriguing materials. Like rubbish.

Working with fabrics that have been created from recycled materials, each piece in the collection artfully merges sustainability with style. There are the earrings made from recycled glass and plastic; the frill-panted tuxedo that uses material produced from the raw matter in wood; and the standout Plissé Pleat Gown, a twirl-inducing creation crafted from BIONIC — a fabric produced using shoreline rubbish.

Boasting modern designs that encompass all the season’s most highly-anticipated trends — frills, satin and sharp tailoring, to name but a few — the boundary-pushing collection flawlessly demonstrates how fashion can be both elegant and environmentally-friendly.

H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection lands in-store tomorrow, Thursday 20th April.

Sylvia Park
286 Mount Wellington Highway
Mount Wellington

0800 406 700

www.hm.com/nz

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Orakei Bay Village just keeps getting better with Bird on a Wire

Three restaurants in and these free-range chook experts just keep getting better.

I know the fastest way to get from Ponsonby to Orakei at any given time of day. School rush? No problem. After work jams? I got this. With so many new openings going down at Orakei Bay Village as of late, learning the best possible route has been imperative. Certainly, a specialised piece of knowledge, but one that is going to continue to come in useful with the launch of the village’s newest addition, Bird on a Wire.

The third restaurant for the free range chook specialists, the team has taken what was once a rumpety old garden shed and turned it into a genuinely nice place to eat — no mean feat considering the state of the ivy-cloaked hovel they took over. With plenty of natural wood, olive green walls, splashes of mosaic tiling and beautiful strip lighting along one wall, it’s simply but strikingly done. And while the covered, festooned patio enjoys views out across Hobson Bay, it’s the inclusion of a basin bang smack in the middle of the dining room (for fried chicken sullied hands) that really deserves a shoutout.

Open to dine in or takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bird on a Wire Orakei will be serving up all its much-loved salads, burgers, schnitzels and favourites seven days a week. With full rotisserie chickens of course available too, time-pressed patrons will be pleased to hear they can also order via the BOAW app. Located on the bottom side of Orakei Bay Village (look for the Plant Barn driveway), it’s a welcome addition to the area.

Bird on a Wire Orakei

Orakei Bay Village
234 Orakei Road
Remuera

www.birdonawire.co.nz

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Reality just got real — this is what Trump’s wall could seriously look like

He called for an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful wall” to stretch 3,200 km across the country’s border.

Located somewhere, just beneath our rationality, Trump’s America is one great big nightmare we’re ready to wake up from. But here to remind us that this is not just a bad, bad dream, are the propositions following the cutoff for private contractors’ plans for The Wall — yes, that wall. Covered off in global newspapers over the past fortnight, plans for the great divider include “watchtowers, drones and a toxic moat” amongst other things, according to The Guardian. Enter some of the more outrageous concepts to have (seriously) made it this far. 

1. The No Border
Starting with the most blindly hopeful campaign from a group of American and Mexican citizens who called themselves Otra Nation, they’ve proposed a collaborative co-nation along the border, “open to citizens of both countries and co-maintained by Mexico and the United States of America”. It would also create “nodes of cultural production” such as libraries, museums, galleries and workshops between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, and other border-proximate cities. Good luck to them.

2. Nuclear Nightmare
Clayton Industries of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has proposed digging a 30-metre trench along the border and filling it with nuclear waste — yay! An easily surmounted chain link fence would run along the Mexican side, followed by a field of motion sensors. And if any border-jumpers were still willing to try their luck in making it past the noxious moat, they’d be met with another 10-metre high wall on the American side (given that’s the direction they’re heading). But it’s not all as ominous as it sounds; the waste would also be used to generate electricity.

3. Haute Technology
In a technologically advanced scheme by a San Diego-based company, vScenario, drones (of course) would be used to map a 3D model of the frontier’s perilous terrain. They would then install a stealthy track of cameras called “volumetric microwave sensors” and fibre-optics along the border to detect the exact whereabouts of potential intruders.

4. Solar Solutions
Gleason Partners of Las Vegas, Nevada, proposes solar panels to cover sections of the wall. The panels would provide power for lighting, sensors and patrol stations, and the company has said that selling excess electricity to utility companies could cover the cost of construction in under 20 years. Managing partner Thomas Gleason says that he would like to see the wall “pay for itself”.

5. The Impenetrable
A leader in distributed fibre sensor solutions — whatever that means— DarkPulse Technologies has proposed a ballistics-grade (bullet resistant) concrete wall embedded with sensors that would be used to notify border agents of the exact location of any tampering in real time. Like something out of a movie, their wall would also be coated to prevent the use of grappling hooks.

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A top international designer is giving free advice on Instagram

If you don’t know Stefan Sagmeister, we recommend a quick online stalk. One half of New York’s formidable Sagmeister & Walsh, he is the designer, artist, typographer, TED talker, filmmaker, author and all-round creative, responsible for some of the most influential design and social projects of our time.

As famous for his personal work as he is his campaigns, the award-winning creative has recently begun a new program, offering budding designers advice via Instagram. Welcoming international creatives to send him one of their logos via email, he then reviews them on his own account, posting suggestions or solutions on how they can improve.

An incredible project that allows us a glimpse into the mind of one of modern design’s most revered creatives, take a look through Sagmeister’s page here, or better yet, upload a piece for review. With seriously impressive advice — the type that makes you go, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ — it is a contemporary masterclass in graphic design.

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Crane Brothers presents us with a lesson in timeless style

When it comes to dressing well in the colder months, we are well aware that function is as important as fashion. So when a collection arrives, effortlessly delivering both, we take notice. Suffice to say, it is for that exact reason that Crane Brothers’new A/W line has piqued our attention.

Like an ode to the English countryside and the heritage-steeped fashions that come with it, age-old weaving techniques, tweed and twill are well represented throughout the new range. Rich in deep green, navy and brown tones, the enduring palette is complemented by royal blackberry hues. With devotees sure to notice parallels between the new line and designer Murray Crane’s 2005 Game collection, A/W ‘17 is a suave reminder of the local label’s timeless nature.

Conjuring images of mist-smothered moors and tumbling hills in the British backcountry, the new line is a lesson in practical fashion. Well worthy of a place in your wardrobe where it will likely hang for years to come. You can take a look through the whole collection, here.

Crane Brothers

2-4 High Street
Auckland

(09) 377 5333

www.crane-brothers.com

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