What You Missed At Nairobi Cocktail Festival 2019

The Nairobi Cocktail Festival 2019 was one of the top foodie events on KV’s radar this past November. The three-day culinary festival brought together thousands of adventurous cocktail drinkers who got the opportunity to sample from 40 different booze brands, attend masterclasses and have a grand afternoon.

This second edition was dubbed “the secret garden” edition and was held at the wedding famous Dari Restaurant in Karen.

We caught up with some of the personalities we consider quite knowledgeable about booze, to find out how the festival was according to them.

Wairimu Nyingi (@wairimunyingi)

Despite the rains on Sunday I enjoyed myself. The location was beautiful but with the right shoes and attire, you were good to go. I discovered two new gins from Under the Influence; Invorroche and Musgrave. The cocktails they served were amazingly refreshing!! I also loved Fire and Ice from Diageo. My favourite stand was the martini guys and Evans from Campari.

Diane Nthurima (nerd-dee/stylenerdjournal)

Nairobi Cocktail this year was classy, exciting and experiential. I got to sample a number of the cocktails on offer and some of my favourite were Jack Daniels, Don Julio and Country Lane Cream Liqueur. The fruity cocktails from The Berry Juice company were great too. I would recommend their juices as mixers. Having attended both the Jack Daniels and Tanqueray masterclasses, I have to say that the Jack Daniels experience was so much better and I wished the gin one was just as good! Check out Diane’s full review on her blog.

Brian Ndungu (ndungu.x)

I got to sample 25 on day one and I guess 33 on day two. I was on a mission lol. Spacing the drinks with water and Schweppes C helped. The Hard Shake from Bulleit was pretty awesome! It had Bulleit bourbon, simple syrup, milk, vanilla extract and grated nutmeg. The fact that it had milk and vanilla was interesting which provoked me to try it, and hey… I loved it!!

I discovered Takamaka and Harrington whiskey. I really loved Takamaka and I’m pretty sure I am getting a bottle of their rum soon. The festival was refreshing!!

Mwende Ngao (mwendesusu)

I would describe the whole day as memorable, exciting and educative. Out of the 15 or so cocktails that I tried; the Campari one made by one of my fave bartenders Evans was amazing. The gin selection this year was also impressive. Musgrave, Inverroche, Bombay and Hendricks did it for me. Martini also had amazing cocktails. Another brand I discovered and enjoyed was a brandy at KWV. There’s hardly much I can fault the organizers for. Great job!

Jeannette Musembi (the_dragnet/barskenya)

I had even more fun this year than last for sure. It was a fun, eyeopening and immersive event. I managed to do around 26 out of the 40 cocktails and my favorite remains the Beefeater pink gin Cocktail. I discovered a new rum range called Takamaka from Seychelles. I am definitely showing up to house parties to brag with that new rum. This year, they really tried to make the festival special with space, decor, and entertainment. I’d say the weather was the real bummer but hey, that didn’t stop us from having a blast!

Rowland Kiprono (rowlandkip)

I enjoyed every bit of the day. The Nairobi Cocktail festival is a fun way to spend time with friends trying out new drinks as well as your favourite classics. I tried so many cocktails but my favourite one was what the Singeleton team served. The new brands I came across and loved were Takamaka rum and Elephant gin. Dari was an awesome location despite being all the way in Karen.

Here are some more pictures from the festival by Wanjohi Ports.

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LL is a writer based in Nairobi who previously loved attending and writing about the pop culture scene, Nairobae events, and cool Kenyans doing cool things. Especially Kenyan women. Currently, she's relearning and exploring beauty and fashion stories in the country.