Recipe: Eastern Rockhopper Cocktail for Bird of the Year

Feel the spirit of the Rockhopper Penguin with this salty, zesty cocktail, a great way to celebrate Bird of the Year.

RECIPE BY the Vodka Room
Photos: Pippa Lynch, Shout&Co.

Blending salty, sour and foamy, the Rockhopper Cocktail nods to the rockhopper penguin’s wild marine habitats which include the rocky and rugged shorelines of the Campbell Islands off New Zealand’s South Coast.
For this spirited bird, a true individual, Vodka Room selected a singular cocktail base; Karven Starka Vodka, with its unique amber hue, is infused with manuka honey and New Zealand botanicals, including the native kawakawa.
The Rockhopper references the whisky old-fashioned and the whisky sour and as a flip, appropriately makes use of an egg to create that luscious frothy foam.


boston shaker
cocktail strainer
lighter (butane if possible)
rocks glass
large ice cube
1 medium egg separated for its white
60ml Karven Vodka
sea salt
15ml sugar syrup (or to taste)
1 few dashes of lemon bitters
1 lemon

Peel a large section of lemon peel, about 3cm wide by 6cm long. Cut the lemon in half and rub the flesh along the edge of the rocks glass.
Pour a thin layer of sea salt into a small plate then rim the rocks glass in it.

Carefully put the large ice cube into the rocks glass and add 60ml of Karven Vodka and a few dashes of lemon bitters. Stir until cold.
In the boston shaker, add the egg white, 15ml of sugar syrup (or 30ml if a sweet drink is preferred) and 15ml of lemon juice, juiced from the lemon.

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Shake vigorously and then open the shaker and add ice. Shake again until the mixture sounds thickened, then open and strain the foam into the rocks glass over the chilled Karven Vodka.

Put the lemon peel over the top of the foam and use the lighter to warm the lemon peel to cooked but not charred.
Garnish with a toothpick of lemon peel and cranberry to mimic the rockhopper’s crest.


You can do your bit to help the endangered Eastern Rockhopper penguins by casting a vote for them in Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition here (Voting runs from 1-14 October 2018)


Bird of the Year is an annual competition run by Forest & Bird. New Zealanders are asked to vote for their favourite bird at Make a donation to help save New Zealand’s threatened and endangered birds here.

Photos courtesy of Pippa Lynch, Shout&Co.

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