FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

AJABU Cocktail and Spirits Festival: A New Exploration into South African Flavor

by Elyse Glickman

Feb 16, 2024

© Hero Bar

Daily

The first AJABU Cocktail and Spirits Festival, launching this March, was conceived with the goal of being a game-changing addition to the international culinary festival landscape and putting African-made spirits and food into the global gastronomy conversation. True to the meaning of ajabu (translating to wondrous or amazing), the two-tiered festival rolls out in Johannesburg March 10–13, and Cape Town March 13–18. At both locations, the talents of a new generation of African bartenders, spirits producers, restaurateurs, chefs and others will be on full display.

Colin Asare Appiah and Mark Talbot

Colin Asare-Appiah and Mark Talbot © Crave Concepts

Bringing global heft to the proceedings, 20 internationally recognized bartenders from 10 of the world’s most-acclaimed bars will join forces with the 20 top bars and their loyal customers in Johannesburg and Cape Town. These creative mixologists will collaborate with participating local venues to create unique cocktails and, at the same time, educate and share their knowledge, vision and delight with customers and bartenders.

Festival attendees can look forward to a week of education sessions, spirited forums, wine tours, and hosted dinners at local Johannesburg and Cape Town restaurants and bars. In Johannesburg, festival-goers can look forward to experiencing the distinctive offerings of bars such as Sin + Tax, Saint, Smoking Kills, Cin Cin Zioux, Mesh Club and Marabi Club. Meanwhile, Cape Town will host festivities at Cause/Effect, Art of Duplicity, Chef’s Warehouse, Hacienda, The Drinkery, House of Machines, Asoka and Talking to Strangers. There will also be a lineup of bartenders and experts from internationally noted bars participating in various events.

cocktail

© The Art of Duplicity

Curated by award-winning mixologist Colin Asare-Appiah (Bar World 100 Most Influential Figures 2023, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s 2023 Spirited Awards Finalist: Best Bar Mentor) and U’Luvka Vodka founder Mark Talbot Holmes, the festival is designed to inspire innovation, collaboration and creativity, while celebrating the continent’s incredible diversity of people, ingredients and beverages.

“AJABU is a platform to celebrate Africa’s vibrant spirit and bartending culture,” said Asare-Appiah. “We’re committed to fostering the growth of the hospitality industry across the continent by inspiring and empowering the bartending community to push the boundaries of their craft while providing a unique platform to showcase the diverse and rich culture of African drinks and ingredients.”

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