Watering holes offer brilliant cocktails
There are a variety of concoctions to suit everybody’s taste - spicy, sweet, tangy, fruity and even salty
Searching East London for a total of 15 cocktails: we plotted, we travelled and we sipped around so we could bring you the best alcoholic concoctions the city has to offer.
Watering holes across Buffalo City Metro have it all – from spicy, sweet, tangy and fruity to salty.
There are the classics such as a Mojito plus variants from the Daiquiri family, with some new tastes which include the Zish and a Woo Woo.
Cafe Neo mixologist Greg Christodoulou said gin continues to dominate the market.
To up their gin offering, the eatery introduced the Blueberry & White Chocolate cocktail as part of their Neo signature range.
The cocktail is a mixture which includes gin, white chocolate and blueberry syrup and tonic.
“Many people love to relax with a gin and tonic after work and we haven't taken that away, we just added a new twist to it,” Christodoulou said.
He said cocktails were a great choice of drink not just for taste but for the look and presentation as well.
“It is all about the process of making it.
“Like I always say, you start with the non-alcoholic ingredients first, then pour the alcohol last so that it mixes nicely at the end.”
The gin is what hits the tongue first when one sips the Blueberry & White Chocolate cocktail, followed by a slightly sweet taste loaded with strong vanilla notes.
The sweetness balances out the bite from the gin. Purple in colour, the drink is decorated with blueberries and topped off with ice.
Another popular cocktail is the Red Citrus, part of the Neo Signature Whisky Cocktails. This one is a combination of 12year-old whisky, cherry syrup and grapefruit juice.
Strong fruity notes are dominant, with the whisky coming in at the end almost as an afterthought.
Neither flavour overpowers the other in the drink at all; instead it’s a perfect marriage of bitter, spicy and fruity. This cocktail would not appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth.
Across town, new kid on the block News Cafe offers a Faithful Bitch, a firm favourite which the restaurant chain has sold for several years.
Manager Sithombe Dlamini said this drink was a hit with the ladies, with the males preferring a Long Island Iced Tea.
The eatery has a daily cocktail “rush hour” between 5pm and 7pm where they serve six cocktails. These include a Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea and a Strawberry Daiquiri as well as the Faithful Bitch.
Dlamini said: “Men don't really do that thing of going out for cocktails. Mostly women go for that. For some reason, they feel more comfortable opting for a beer then they do drinking a cocktail. When we do have males in here looking for a cocktail, they more often than not go for a Long Island Iced Tea.”
Served in a tall glass with the ingredients poured in specific layers, this drink is a combination of white rum, vodka, tequila, gin, Triple Sec, lime, sour mix and cola.
The taste of the rum overpowers every other spirit in this drink, surprising given the different variants of alcohol used. A hint of cola comes through, balancing out the bite of the rum.
On the sweeter end is the Faithful Bitch, which comes loaded with vodka, apple sours, lemonade, grenadine and sour mix. Slightly sour yet delightfully sweet, one could easily be fooled into believing there is not a hint of alcohol in this drink at all.
Loaded with ice and decorated with a piece of sour candy to nibble on between sips, this is the perfect drink to wind down with after a long day.
From there, it was off to report to the “Major” at Jules on Jarvis in Berea, where mixologist Major Kudakwashe has created his own signature drink called the Salvador Major.
According to Kudakwashe, the drink is a combination of tequila, rum, cordial, cucumber and lime. He said the inspiration behind it is, surprisingly, a Margarita.
“People love those but I wanted to try something new with different flavours so I thought this up,” he said.
“I started serving it and I got such a positive response from the public that we made it a permanent part of the menu.”
The refreshing taste of the cucumber is so tangible it’s almost as if it’s infused into the ice cubes beforehand.
The cucumber quietens down the bitterness of the rum and tequila, which would otherwise overpower the tastebuds. There is just a hint of lime which hits the tongue at the end. The drink is refreshing and thirst-quenching, absolutely perfect for summer.
Rather different is the Espresso Martini, perfect for the coffee-lover. This is an infusion of vodka, Kahlúa, Frangelico, a shot of espresso and ice.
Sophisticated and sexy in its glass topped with froth and decorated with coffee beans, this a naughty but nice serving of java. Think Wall Street, suits and briefcases. There is nothing sweet about it.
The Beachfront Lounge, a cocktail bar overlooking the ocean on the East London Esplanade, offers its patrons a Woo Woo. Dominant here is vodka, followed by Schnapps, lime, cranberry juice with a splash of passion fruit.
Barman Ziphozihle Hlengiwe, aka Zish, topped off the bar's list with his own signature drink known as the “Zish”.
Here he mixes granadilla and orange juice, lemonade and vodka. Poured in a tall glass, this layered drink looks like a blast from the past complete with an umbrella.
“This cocktail is inspired by intimacy. That's what I had in mind when I was mixing this. In order to be intimate one needs to be calm and in the mood ... this cocktail inspires this,” he said, adding that the key to the perfect cocktail does not just lie with the ingredients but has to have an aesthetic appeal too.
“A cocktail has to look good. It has to make you want to drink it just by looking at it. Colour and garnish are important, especially in summer.”..