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AJABU COCKTAIL FESTIVAL Brings World Top Bartenders To SA. Trailer Happiness

AJABU Cocktail Festival Brings World Top Bartenders To SA!

Mark your calendars, cocktail enthusiasts! The inaugural AJABU Cocktail & Spirits Festival, Africa’s first bi-annual international celebration of all things mixology, is set to tantalise your taste buds this March. Buckle up as we dive into the exciting lineup of participating bars, events, and renowned figures gracing this groundbreaking festival.

AJABU has officially announced the lineup of participating bars, community brunches, tasting panels, and celebrations taking place in South Africa this March. The festival will pop up in Johannesburg (March 10–13) and Cape Town (March 14–17).

Africa’s Premier Spirits Festival

Curated by Colin Asare Appiah (Bar World 100 Most Influential Figures 2023, and co-author of Black Mixcellence) and Mark Talbot Holmes (founder of multiple award-winning U’Luvka Vodka), AJABU aims to become Africa’s leading spirits and cocktail festival. It will not only connect the hospitality industry and their community across Africa and beyond, but it will also inspire innovation, collaboration, and creativity while celebrating the continent’s incredible diversity of people, ingredients, and beverages.

Ajabu Cocktail Festival. Colin Asare-Appiah & Mark Talbot Holmes © Crave Concepts

The inaugural festival will include bartenders from internationally acclaimed bars including Allegory (Washington DC), Front/Back (Accra), Hero Bar (Nairobi), Rayo (Mexico City), Sweet Liberty (Miami), and Trailer Happiness (London). These global bars will each collaborate with the following outstanding local bars to deliver exquisite cocktail experiences over two nights: A Streetbar Named Desire, Benchwarmers, Saint, SinTax and Smoking Kills in Johannesburg, and Cause Effect, Fable, Talking to Strangers, The Drinkery, The House of Machines, and Tjing Tjing in Cape Town.

World Acclaimed Bars

“We’re incredibly excited to be bringing the teams from such world-acclaimed bars to South Africa, who will work alongside equally outstanding local establishments for this series of innovative industry events.”

Asare Appiah

To attend the festival, you must register as space is limited, even though the tickets are complimentary. In addition to a series of Community Brunches and Tasting Tables, AJABU will host a line-up of special events in each city.

In Johannesburg, Monica Berg of London’s Tayēr + Elementary, and Bar World 100’s Most Influential Global Bar Figure for four years running, will lead a discussion with drinks writer and AJABU partner Leah van Deventer, three-time South Africa’s Bar Communicator of the Year and also among the Bar World 100. The discussion will focus on community and culture in the African context. An exclusive screening of Perspectives, Campari’s unique docuseries that brings together bartenders and industry members from all over the world to explore pivotal themes for the drinks world, as well as a Campari aperitivo hour, will follow this.

Additionally, Van Deventer will moderate a symposium of international female bar leaders for the members and friends of Sisterhood of Industry Support, AJABU’s official upliftment partner.

Celebrating the 50th Birthday of Kurt Schlechter

In Cape Town, renowned rum ambassador and IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year 2023, Ian Burrell, will host a masterclass. The local and global bar communities will also gather to celebrate the 50th birthday of AJABU partner and industry legend Kurt Schlechter.

Both cities will host dedicated seminars for the South African launch of Pernod Ricard’s SIP – an upskilling and educational program. Here, in community-building groups, attendees will discuss themes such as menu design and storytelling, seasonal ingredients, cocktail trends, and techniques and technology.

Charlotte Voisey, Global Head of Ambassadors with William Grant and Sons, will be in attendance and will be supporting the activities at the festival.

Tickets and Information

Registration for tickets for the festival is available to book via Quicket here

AJABU Cocktail & Spirits Festival on Quicket. Ajabu will host another week-long event across both cities in November, in partnership with Cape Town Beverage Show.

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