Meet the Bartender: Edwin Beats, Six Ounces

Starting his hospitality career in Christchurch, Edwin Beats worked as a kitchen hand in restaurants and hotels, then as a wait staff at a Lyttleton café. Beats’ bar life began as a glassy/barback and he worked his way up. He made the move to Auckland, working a bar job for seven years before returning to Merivale where he is now Bar Manager at Six Ounces.

Six Ounces is a neighbourhood spot cleverly blurring the line between coffee shop and bar. Caffeine, booze and food keep the locals of Merivale and St Albans happy, and coming back! Furry friends are welcome too.

Bridging the gap between coffee and cocktails, Beats’ favourite drink to make at Six Ounces is an espresso martini, specially finessed using the cafe’s gorgeous refurbished Wega coffee machine. 

“I like the additional challenge of extracting a perfect shot of Switch espresso before you even begin mixing.”

His favourite drinks change with the context of his work environment - while working at a Brazilian restaurant he enjoyed making Caipirinhas - but anywhere he goes balance, clarity and simplicity are the defining features of a great cocktail. To Beats, a good drink has a story connected to it, with great ingredients of which New Zealand has a lot to offer.

Receiving a happy customer’s praise makes Beats proud of the carefully curated drinks range at Six Ounces, in particular their wine list.

To show new customers the style of the bar, his go-to drink is an exceptional Côte du Rhône by the glass. Approachable, silky smooth and a good weight on the palate to enjoy on its own, the wine also carries enough fruity intensity to be a beautiful accompaniment to a bit of Manchego with plum and tamarillo chutney on focaccia. 

The team at Six Ounces also love a Negroni, and as a perfect way to cap off the evening have a Negroni variation on the cocktail list showcasing a bitter aperitivo from Martinborough.

New Zealand-made drinks make up about half of the Six Ounces backbar, with customers particularly enjoying Victor Gin from the folks at Dunedin’s Thomson Whisky. Beats serves this with Quina Fina tonic on the side, so it can be tasted before mixing.

The bar manager has found being a café during the day means a good range of non-alcoholic cold drinks are available. The bar offers low-to-no options with a 0 percent lager and two 2.5 percent low-alcohol beers - a hazy and a sour, alongside delicious kombucha from Three Boys. Proving quite popular, the Six Ounces fridge space for no alcohol options may soon include a 0 percent cider too.

In his spare time, Beats is an actor and puppeteer, travelling New Zealand and the world performing live theatre. He and his partner run a small business Tusk Puppets (@tuskpuppets on Instagram) and he has just returned from four months touring Australia.

His words of wisdom to bartenders out there in these difficult times is to wear a mask and wash/sanitise hands regularly. 

“The way forward for the welfare of the hospitality industry is not to pretend that Covid-19 no longer exists. Keep everybody safe.”

Six Ounces is open Monday-Sunday. Head down for aperitivo 4-7pm, Monday to Wednesday. Buy a wine and help yourself to nibbles. Discover the exquisite pairings between their wines and antipasti.

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