The South African cocktail world has definitely come a long long way from tooth-achingly sweet “cooldrinks” and is wowing international visitors (and locals!) with elegant and refined drinks that are brimming with flavour, flair, and creativity.
In the last five months Cape Town has seen the opening of three different watering holes that honour and celebrate all things local – using ingredients that are indigenous to SA. Namely; The Gin Dock, Cause Effect and The Botanical Bar.
A drink at any of these spots will probably change your mind about what constitutes a good cocktail. Barmen are using exciting raw materials and transforming them into the most incredible libations with the help of impressive instruments like tweezers, pipettes, smoke guns and ice stamps! It’s all rather thrilling.
Of course – like food, the drinks world is also driven by ever-changing styles and trends and one ingredient that’s piqued our interest this year is the use of fish sauce (yes – the one you put in a stir-fry).
Cocktail expert, Pete Siganto at Melbourne’s Uncle restaurant has developed a drink of Tromba Bianco tequila with lime, coriander, lemongrass, mint, chilli, palm syrup and barrel-aged fish sauce. If you know the basics of mixology, you’ll understand the necessity for a balance in flavours. In this case the fish sauce steps in as the ‘salty’ component that counterbalances the sweetness of the palm sugar and the acidity of the lime.
While many would probably turn their noses up at a drink containing the Asian pantry staple (it’s made from fermented fish), we can’t help but feel intrigued to taste it and wonder if the Vietnamese Melbourne hotspot will set a new trend in motion…
Siganto says, “So far guests have been embracing the unusual cocktail and it’s become one of Uncle’s best-sellers.”
So…what’s the verdict, do you think fish sauce will make its way into SA bars soon? SHARE your comments below. And if you’ve made a drink using fish sauce, we’d love to know!