Omwenge Wegulimbula..Nagenda n’ekiro.
One sure fire way for me to know the year is truly ending(Thank God),is the always anticipated and much needed Kampala cocktail week spanning 10 days of delectable alcoholic goodness with over 30 Bars and Restaurants participating.
The premise offers shooters at 8,000ugx,casual cocktails at 10,000ugx and Craft cocktails at 15,000ugx ,Wonderful prices as the norm averages at about 25,000ugx depending on where you go.
The sponsors of this event are Uganda Waragi,Baileys,Radio City,Johnnie Walker,Smirnoff,Ciroc and Singleton Whisky.
Out of the 10 days,8 separate events have been planned;
The invite only grand opening at Riders Lounge on the 29th.
Scotch night at the Embers on the 30th.
Ciroc Pineapple brunch at the Alchemist with a white and yellow dress code on the 3rd.
JW flavor gallery at Sky Lounge also on the 3rd.
2-4-1 on the 6th at various outlets (I like this one)
Smirnoff night at Arena on the 7th.
A pop up beach at Panamera on the 9th and an invite only closing event at the Serena on the 12th.
Now I like to drink my cocktails at a leisurely pace whenever the spirit beckons so i don’t think I’ll be actively seeking out said planned events,instead I’ll just saunter into whatever bar i happen to be feeling that day and check out what this great week has in store for me.
The first bar I tried out was Holy crepe ,because I love it and it never disappoints,for their shooters,they offered two options;the Banamarula with Amarula,banana liqueur and a drop of Nutella & the Blueberry drop;Uganda Waragi coconut,Uganda Waragi original and a fresh blueberry.
Casual cocktails included the Cilantro cooler with Uganda Waragi original,ginger beer(Stoney Tangawuzi for me and you!)lime and cilantro.&the Tropical breeze with Coconut Waragi,pineapple& lemon grass.
Craft cocktails included the Chailada!,a pinacolada with a twist & UG Libre,original Waragi,lemon,basil,lemongrass and sugar.
I opted for the Blueberry drop shooter as a,I don’t think I’d had a Blueberry before and b,I absolutely hate Nutella,hazelnut spread passing itself off as chocolate,the lies!!!!!
It’s was very nice,just the right amount of sweetness,I did expect it to be purple but it was a bright red,I couldn’t really be bothered to investigate as I’d left my inspector Derrick jacket at home,so I left it at that.
I moved on to the Cilantro cooler and it was everything,who knew Cilantro and UG went so well together,I’ll definitely try this at home sometime.
I also tried the tropical breeze which was a bad decision for me, It came off like Pina colada’s failed cousin! I’m always a sucker for pineapple which is usually great but didn’t work out for me this time round,the cocktail was way too sweet,with the coconut UG over powering the lemon grass,also I don’t really like the coconut version of this amazing spirit,so really it was never going to win anyway.
The bar was closing by the time I was done with Breeze so I didn’t get a chance to sample any of the others,although I have tried the UG Libre before and that basil does the trick.
I’d say that was a great way to start off my Bar hopping and couldn’t wait for what the rest of the days had in store.
The last time I was here,about 6 years ago,Olives Naguru was Colors of the Wild,an incredibly dimly lit but serene space that had the most interesting silhouettes moving about purposely.Their chicken was to die for,the main reason I used to go.
Fast forward to Saturday,having seen one of their cocktails being showcased on Instagram I went on down there and what do you know,it’s changed quite a bit.This place is beautiful,the stone work,shrubbery,kids play area,bar with appropriate ample lighting. I’m definitely going to like it here.
I went downstairs and found me a nice seat,the waiters pretty much ignored me for a good 7 minutes,constantly walking by me like some strange catwalk.If you’ve lived in Uganda long enough you know that crappy restaurant or bar service is just life in most places.Its an emotionally abusive relationship you can’t escape.Eventually,a waitress came by and handed me the cocktail week menu after i stated my business.
For the shooters they offered the Goodnight kiss:vanilla vodka,chocolate tequila,double cream and a marshmallow & Flames of glory:UG Waragi,Baileys and Kahlua.
For the casual cocktails; Cocovaro :UG coconut,Alvaro pineapple and mint leaves& CheekyPeachy:Gin,tonic water,fresh peaches and rosemary.
For the Craft cocktails;Umeme’s power cut:UG Waragi,peach purée,passion juice and thyme syrup &Juliana on my mind(really?):Vanilla vodka,watermelon juice,orange,rose infused syrup and lime juice.
Wow writing all this was exhausting! Also these are some of the cheesiest names I’ve come across in a while,love it.
The only one of these that appealed to me was the Peachy one,I had two.
They were good,not great.I could have used a little more gin since tonic water is super bitter and over powering as far as I’m concerned,also the rosemary didn’t really do anything except smell divine.
Olives you are great,I’ll definitely start coming round more often,good effort with the cocktails and your ravioli is the truth!
Yesterday,cocktail week as all about the 2-4-1 deal,along with Sandra and Pearl I went on down to Otters bar as the starting point for what i hoped would be an epic bar crawl.
I’d only ever been to Otters once,a particularly delightful Wednesday afternoon if memory serves me right.
We walk in at about 7 ish and the place was packed,not a waiter or free table in sight. We managed to grab a spot by the pool table. Realizing no one was about to take our orders,Pearl went to the bar,grabbed me the cocktail menu and found a waiter who promised to make his way to us, 9 minutes later,a one Sam,comes over and takes our beer and cocktail order.
I settled for the Tripple Pleasure:Rum,Tequila,UG,a dash of lime,grenadine and soda. I specifically asked that the tequila be eliminated from mine after being assured it was possible.I asked about the 2-4-1’s to which he confirmed my causal cocktail choice would be doubled. Joy.
Other casual cocktails included the Passion Breeze:passion juice,Smirnoff vodka,tequila and sprite &the UG-Rinha:UG coconut,lime and simple syrup.
Craft Cocktails included the passion and ginger mojito,Vodka fruit punch &Spicy Ricky;fresh lime and chili,Ug and soda! Damn Ricky!
I don’t recall what the shooters were.
To say the Service was slow is an understatement,the beers took so long,Pearl opted to go get them from the bar herself,she came back empty handed with the assurance they were coming. As for my cocktail,I lost track of time,but I’m a patient woman so I don’t really mind waiting for things particularly if i know good things are coming my way.
When the Triple pleasure did arrive,guess what the dominant flavor profile was....Tequila. It was very annoying,like was I just talking to myself Sam or what?
Sandra took it back and asked that they make me another,Perhaps he forgot,but quite frankly by the time we left I was convinced Sam genuinely couldn’t be arsed in life.
Jerome,Sandra’s cousin joined us,and after an eternity I finally got my drink,no Tequila and what do you know,,,it was glorious,maybe I was just super thirsty at that point!?,No I’ll give credit where it’s due,It was good.
I asked Sam to just place my order for the second one since they take so long to get served,he agreed. But yeah,later it became clear that once again I was talking to myself.
I loved the music,company was good, good times. Eventually long after my last sip,beers long depleted and it finally dawning on me Sam had long forgotten us,I went to the bar and placed an order for another round.
At this point,we all agreed Otters just wasn’t doing it for us,no one wants to have to work that hard for drinks after a long day.
Also some guys had come over to play pool,Sandra kept getting poked about,the men were rather rude,acting like we were dicks for sitting there,Like we drove all the way here for this prime real estate.
A waiter came over and asked us to move,he was polite about it,but ummm to where?! We’d had enough and decided to leave,getting the bill took another century,and as we left,I joined the others in voicing our displeasure at the service to which Sam,in the most condescending,nonchalant,insincere uppity tone goes...sorrrrrry!
Don’t be sorry,be better. This right here is why Ugandans typically don’t tip.
Next stop was Bushpig,we found a table and Claire,at least I think that’s her name,I could be wrong,the UBL hostess for the night,came over to I guess welcome us which was pretty nice,Brian,a very high energy bubbly guy took our orders,
For the Shooters they had the Sparkling Barmaid:lemon ice cream,limoncello,Smirnoff vodka and sparkling wine.
Emer’s comfort: southern comfort,whisky and agonstura &Yowza:UG coconut,coconut cream and Tabasco. Interesting names.
Casual cocktails; Calimocho:Red wine and coke,Seeing Double:Smirnoff Black ice,vodka and ginger.&the Ugilet: Waragi and orange juice.
Craft cocktails,I only noted one of them that caught my attention;the Coco Loco: white rum,UG coconut,sambuca,coconut cream and green chilies!
I had the Ugilet,turns out the promo applied to Craft not Casual cocktails,I don’t know why I had that reversed. After another round we moved on to the next bar.
I miss Iguana,it was one of my favorite bars,met so many people and made the most random memories out there,when it closed,I was sad to see it go but Arena that took its place is pretty great too,it’s so much cleaner,the Iguana toilets stench was like no other,I mean it’s still kind of there but barely noticeable,some things are here till the end of time I guess.
This was my first time here,I was impressed,i especially like the fake grass,felt really good on my toes,I truly am easily amused by the most random things.
The placards advertising the 2-4-1 event stated it was an all night affair,by the time we got to Arena however,the waiter,Julius,pleasant guy told me they weren’t running it anymore,
Curiosity got the better of me so I had to inquire why,the manager,Joseph,and even more pleasant individual explained that they only ran it during the day when they had Pearl Guide magazine people over publicizing the event.something about them taking their stock with them.it was a strange explanation but really can’t say I cared much,I just wanted to know and that was about it.Finishing up out beers and Orange and herb infused Gin&tonic,we left in search of some much needed chicken.
Thinking about the week today,I think these bars have been a sufficient number to sample from so I don’t think I’ll be trying anymore.I’ve definitely enjoyed myself,this Cocktail Week has showcased some real ingenuity,a wide use of herbs which I never thought to incorporate into drinks as well as variety.
It’s been great.