Showing posts with label trends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trends. Show all posts

Exploring mixology and South Africa’s best cocktail bars

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We dive into a world of cocktails, secrete and exclusive speakeasies and the art of mixology in South Africa.
Trevor Crighton learns more about the world of cocktails, secret speakeasies and mixology. No longer ‘just a cocktail during cocktail hour’, the world of mixology has had a much-needed update and is far more respected than it once was.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a terrible cocktail. Saccharine concoctions in lurid colours that invite headaches at a glance were once standard-issue at what passed for a ‘cocktail bar’, in most places in South Africa.

Thankfully, the cocktail revolution is upon us and has spread across the country. The venerable art of mixology has given the drinks some fine dining credentials, with smart application of flavours, taste-boosting techniques and presentation that adds sensory layers to the experience.

There are now secret speakeasies dotted around the country, often hidden behind unassuming facades and requiring more than a reservation to get into. Cocktails are about theatre, so it’s a joy that the dedicated bars that serve them are putting on a show – which often comes with live music and a sense of mystery. It’s a welcome change from a swirl of cheap, colourful ingredients in a mildly whimsical glass, topped with a tragic paper umbrella spiked into a piece of ageing fruit. Viva the cocktail revolution!

The Art of Duplicity (Cape Town)

The origins of the cocktail may be the subject of much debate, but the perfect place to drink one is simple – a smoky speakeasy. With just enough of a nod to Prohibition-era rule-breaking, the motif of the 1920’s speakeasy is making a comeback around the world – and Cape Town has its own example.

The Art of Duplicity is a hidden cocktail bar in the East of the CBD, accessible only via booking and a secret password which needs to be whispered through a slot in a nondescript door at the end of an alleyway. Once inside, the Roaring ‘20s unfold against a backdrop of live jazz, warm mood lighting and possibly the best cocktails in the country.

The drinks are the perfect blend of theatre and substance and the high concept menu is born of the mind of multi-awarded mixologist Brent Perremore, who often does duty behind the bar. Try the signature ‘Hillbilly Breakfast Flip’, with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Averna Amaro, Smoked Maple Syrup, Espresso and Free Range Egg. Want to blend the ultimate hangover cure with a killer drink to get you there? The Tennessee Well is comprised of Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Capertif, Fernet Branca and a creme soda reduction.

Location: A Secret

Saigon Suzy (Johannesburg)

It’s big, it’s bright, it’s loud and it has a karaoke bar upstairs. But do they make a mean cocktail? The answer, in Saigon Suzy’s case, is a resounding ‘yes’.

Part of the reinvigoration of the property on the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and Bolton Road in Rosebank, Saigon Suzy is an Asian BBQ and Rock 'n Roll Bar which celebrates the quick fix of Eastern street food. Decked out to resemble a pan-Asian back alley, complete with cobbled floors, Insta-famous neon signs and giant murals, Saigon Suzy is just on the right side of brash – but honestly and unpretentiously so.

There’s plenty of soul to be found – not least in the upstairs ‘No Tell Motel’ karaoke rooms, complete with dress-up boxes for impromptu styling. The food carefully treads the line between respectful replication of typical Asian street food and fusion flavours – and the cocktails have to be relatively hardy to stand up to the bite and spice. The ‘China Girl’ is a blend of Vanilla Vodka, Plum Liqueur, Cranberry Juice and Lime that sounds a lot tamer than it really is. Sip delicately, and then head upstairs to sing loudly!

Location: 144 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

The Chairman (Durban)

It used to be really tricky to find a decent cocktail in Durban and surrounds, with most of the hotels which make up the beachfront strip focussing more on the stock-standard rainbow renditions than anything innovative. Fortunately, the cocktail revolution has arrived in KZN (on the back of an impressive craft beer boom) and there are now several great options where visitors can enjoy smart drinks in classy spaces.

The Chairman is a sophisticated jazz bar that has set out to bend some rules – starting with their location! Finding a home in previously less than salubrious Point, The Chairman is leading the charge to help regenerate its surroundings. The owners say they chose the worst possible building in the worst possible area of Point to make their… point – and it works. Housed in the same block as the legendary Smuggler’s Inn, The Chairman is home to some of the city’s best music – and best cocktails.

Sink back into a plush leather sofa, surrounded by a fusion of mid-century modern, Asian and Ethiopian d├ęcor and sip on the house special, ‘Surrender Your Booty’ – a mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, Martini and Cointreau with Strong Ginger, Pineapple and Lemon Grass.

Location: 146 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Point

The Mixologist

Twenty-six-year-old Evert de Jong is an award-winning mixologist, having placed as a finalist at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 World Class competition as South Africa Regional Finalist. He also finished third, globally, in the 2017 Remy Martin Bartender Talent Academy competition.

He joined Molecular Bars in 2015 as a bartender and rapidly progressed through the ranks to become a director in 2017. He has consulted on mixology and bartending with venues including Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Fridays, Tashas, Tonic Lounge, Alice & Fifth, 54 on Bath, Tsogo Sun Hyde Park, The Course, MESH and many more. Follow him on Instagram @evertdj.

Here’s his recipe for a signature ‘Sunday Funday’ tipple:
• 50ml Jose Cuervo Traditional Plata
• 50ml granadilla juice
• 20ml fresh lemon juice
• 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
• Pinch of salt
• Top Sunday IPA

Garnish: Fennel flowers & wax flowers (any edible flowers)

Method: Build in glass or shake all ingredients excluding beer and then strain into glass with ice and top.

Want to dabble in the art of mixology?

There’s no better place to start than in your home. Get a variety of gorgeous cocktail glasses and start impressing your guests with your newly acquired skills.
Luigi cocktail glasses (set of 4) 449.95
Luigi martini glasses (set of 4) 599.95
Luigi Spanish & gin glasses (set of 4) 599.95


Why it’s cool to bring along your own reusable mug

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We take a look at reusable mugs that really make a difference in our fight against climate change.
With the world becoming more aware (and horrified) of the havoc we as humans wreak on our planet on a daily basis, it’s high time we start thinking about how our everyday actions could actually make the world a better place. 
Enter the reusable mug, helping us save the planet one hot beverage at a time. Reusable surpasses recyclable, something Australian creator of Ecoffee Cup, David McLagan, whole-heartedly believes. ‘Even if we recycled at a rate of 100%, that wouldn’t be the answer,’ he explains to Forbes. ‘We believe recycling is just a way of allaying consumer guilt.’ Fair enough.

Perhaps this awareness is what has caused a dramatic rise in the sale of reusable coffee mugs; in fact, the BYO coffee cup has become somewhat of a trend. Certain South African coffee retailers are offering their customers discounts on a cuppa should they bring along their own mug. So, save the planet and your money by buying your own reusable mug – plus, your favourite beverage will stay hotter for longer. Bonus.

Private Collection printed travel mugs from 149.95 each

All items subject to availability. Prices may change.