Nairobi’s Cocktail Scene Is Growing In Sophistication

Thankfully, we have moved beyond ordering Mojitos and Cosmos at every single occasion…!‘ – the words of the award winning Bartender (and director for Pernod Ricard’s “Bar Stars”) Kurt Schlecter – who was in Nairobi this past weekend for the opening of the uber-lux Absolut Bar at the Dusit D2 Hotel along Riverside Drive.

Of course, the opening itself was graced by some of the city’s most glam personalities – from known figures in TV and radio to influential names within the digital landscape. To leave an impact, you have to make noise – and in 2016, it’s all about what’s trending online.



And what’s trendier than cocktails with beautiful people?

The Absolut Bar is a funky, brightly lit, airy space. Not really what we would typically have envisioned as a sexy cocktail bar just a couple of years ago – those were more dimly lit, subdued lounges that catered to a certain age bracket and a certain depth of pocket.

These days however, mixology is considered a fresh and fun concept that while pricier than the usual night out, can still be enjoyed by almost anyone.

According to Schlecter, anything you can eat, you should ultimately be able to either inspire or create a cocktail with. From tomatoes to black pepper – to bacon!

Mixology competitions have been held with regularity in Nairobi over the past few years, with the returns huge for those who are willing to let their cheeky side emerge. Benu Kundra is one such person. Attached to Brew Bistro Lounge at that point, he wowed judges (myself included) with his flair, creativity and absolute focus for the art. His prize included a trip to Sweden to absorb further the tricks of making it big in his particular industry.

Photos: SHK Consulting

We’ve moved from raucous cocktail mixers at Mwenda’s (which in its heyday was the place to be) to branded hubs nestled within swanky hotels.

But wherever you will be sipping, it’s important to observe a few rules of etiquette:
You might not love every drink you are served, and that’s alright: cocktails are a form of artistry and you might not gel with the piece.

According to Vinepair “An excellent bartender is an excellent people person, and will probably notice you’re not enjoying your drink…”

Also, the obvious: cocktails can be deadly, given their high alcohol and sugar content. And there’s no sophistication in lumbering around drunk in your prettiest dress and heels. Moderation. Enjoy the flavors. And never drink on an empty stomach.

And it’s magic you can try to recreate at home. Grab a good bottle of versatile spirit, get some fruit, a few mixers, invite a couple of people round and get blending!

Images: SHK Consulting

I love music and food! Radio presenter and lifestyle editor at Homeboyz Radio. Esoteric. Raw Like Sushi