Here are the nominees for the Best Drink category for the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards (2AWA).

When I am not having a martini, I like to drink a___

There are many many places offering many many cocktails in Wellington, but we want to know what the very best of them is. There’s a party in our collective mouth, and these drinks are invited…

(nominees after the jump)

A. Maitai (in a pineapple if possible) at Imbibe

As the wise Mr. Beard once said, “You should never have pineapple in a maitai, but it’s okay to have a maitai in a pineapple”. Imbibe know this better than most bars, who will throw in random fruit to dilute what should actually be a drink so strong it’ll put spikes on your chest. They’ll remember that you like your pineapples, and if you call ahead, they’ll even order one in for you. It’s as close to a Tiki Bar as we’re likely to get in Wellington any time soon, so I guess it’ll have to do…

B. Poached Pear Punch at Superfino

Tiny little Superfino on Ghuznee Street may be the new bar in town, but they’ve been open long enough to start soaking pears in vanilla gin, and they’ll serve up whole chunks of pear to you in a glass brimming with such delicious goodness that even boys won’t feel embarrassed to be drinking such a pink drink.

C. Negroni at Hawthorn Lounge

The Negroni. Complex. Spicy. Bitter, although not overly so. The tiniest bit of sweetness to offset that. It’s a drink to warm a cold breast. It’s a perfect aperitif, a drink to wake up your taste buds and shout “Ciao, ragazzo bello! Come stai?”. And the colour! The rich brown and deep red tones seem to glow with soft light and autumnal hues. Hold one near a light and your Negroni will erupt in orange novas. It’s the obvious drink-of-Autumn for a Wellingtonista. They do a fair turn at the Hawthorn — apt, really, with their fireplace, and moody mood-lighting — and if you ask nicely, they’ll even make you one with their special mandarin-infused gin, no less. “Bene, grazie!”

D. Another Martini at Capitol

As a wise person once said, “Martinis are like breasts on a woman: one’s not enough, and three are too many”. So for one’s second Martini, we heartily recommend Capitol. Of the nearly 70 bars that made it into the Wellingtini book: last year, Capitol came out near the top of the list, and if it hadn’t been for their tendency to overdo the olives, it would have approached perfection.

E. Chimay Bleue at Leuven

We’re not all cocktail snobs at the Wellingtonista: sometimes we like to commune with the masses by enjoying a nice cold beer. However, since we *are* snobs, we’d prefer a beer that actually _tastes_ of something, rather than mass-produced swill distinguished primarily by advertising campaigns aimed at cretins. And while there are plenty of excellent local boutique brews, Belgium is the spiritual home of beer, and Leuven is our Mecca. An evening spent savouring Verboden Vrucht, Gulden Draak, Leffe Blonde and Delirium Tremens would be very memorable (not that we remember much of the last one). At the very top of the beer tree, however, is the velvety gorgeousness of Chimay Bleue.

For a handy map of where to get all these drinks, use the “bestcocktail” tag on Zoomin. Go drink up before voting opens on November 19.