South Africa has historically been a beer and wine-drinking country. But the artisanal cocktail movement has exploded in recent years, together with the craft gin movement.
Today, there are many great spots around the country with sophisticated, carefully-curated cocktail menus.
Despite numerous difficulties caused by the pandemic over the past year, bartenders continue to innovate how cocktails are created and served.
Now, in addition to grabbing a seat at the bar for cocktails, many establishments are also putting greater emphasis on outdoor seating on spacious patios, offering drink kits to compile at home, or serving to-go cocktails to enjoy outdoors.
After all, there’s no better way to wind down after a long day or a gruelling week than by enjoying a few drinks with friends.
Below, we share with you some of Mzansi’s top spots to hit after work on a Friday (or a Wednesday, whatever ruffles your truffles).
Botany Lounge at D’Aria – Cape Town
Botany has become a regular among locals looking for something different and tasteful. It is often the first stop before dinner at Patina Steak and Wine situated next door in the Old Stone House or the go-to spot for a digestif after the main meal.
Take pleasure in a spot at the bar, a seat on one of the plush pink couches, or enjoy the fresh air in the courtyard. It is the kind of place where you can be sure of a well-made cocktail.
The bar offers an extensive selection of gin as well as bubbly, whisky, vodka, tequila, and craft beer as well as wine by the glass.
A tapas menu incorporating tasty nibbles from prawns to zucchini fritters offers a range of delectable snacks for a light lunch or as the perfect accompaniment to after-work drinks.
Mix Cocktail Bar – Johannesburg
Mix Cocktail Bar is a destination in the Keyes art mile, where art, music, and cocktails are accompanied by sunsets and interesting conversations which bring together extraordinary people.
The bar stands out from the ever-growing crowd of dedicated mixologist-led cocktail bars in Johannesburg, for its outstanding and constantly changing seasonal menu and its inimitable sense of style.
If you appreciate cocktails made with the same approach to ingredients, flavours, and provenance that you can expect of a fine-dining chef, then you will love what the talented mixologist team has created here.
Alchemy – Durban
Inspired by tradition and moved by innovation, at Alchemy they celebrate craft products. You can sip a bespoke cocktail, or speak to their team about the selection of craft spirits.
With close to a 100 gins, and unique rums and brandies, you will be spoilt for choice. You can also soak up the drinks with simple but delicious bar snacks, or pop in next door to Alchemy kitchen, their restaurant which serves all-day brunch and tapas-style small plate dishes perfect for sharing and exploration.