The Angostura Rock Shandy is an iconic South African recipe and the ultimate summer drink. It’s a winner in South African country clubs, restaurant and cocktail bars, and it’s also very easy to make at home. It just wouldn’t be complete without a few dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters - THE essential ingredient for that extra depth of flavour. And now Angostura gives our readers a chance to WIN a R5,000 cocktail experience at one of the best cocktail bars in SA!
Meet Denzel Heath, the founder of Mootee Bar, which was voted one of 2018’s Top Ten Best New Cocktail Bars in the World by the Spirited Awards. Heath is a world class bartender and is renowned as the ‘Travelling Bartender’. Currently based in Dubai, Heath shares more about SA’s favourite – the Angostura Rock Shandy, life lessons from abroad and future plans for the popular Mootee Bar in Melville, Johannesburg.
1. As someone that strongly believes in ‘embracing your culture’, how do you manage to do that when you’re living a nomadic life?
I find a solid biltong supplier, listen to 5fm through streaming audio and stay close to a community of South Africans where ever I go. Further, in my work space I try to leave a South African imprint on my recipe creations by using globally available African ingredients like rooibos, Cape goose berries , Malay spices and South African wine to name a few examples, and by utilizing unique-to-Africa techniques like traditional fermentation of grains. Where ever I travel to make drinks internationally, I always insist on preparing drinks with an African identity and sharing tales and information about how the South African melting pot of cultures influence and inspire our style of service and drinks at Mootee Bar.
2. What’s the one thing you miss about home now that’re you’re based in Dubai?
I really miss the realness of South Africa – a country where our past does not define us, but rather inspires us to be better and do greater things. We have such a rich and vast culture of food and drink, shared through interactions between a multitude of different races and creeds. On a daily basis I miss our open, outdoor, natural spaces and seeing how the people of South Africa, that come from enormously different backgrounds, interact and communicate their unique individualism through their own style of fashion, design and creativity, but all the way staying true to their cultures and who they really are.
3. Please share your journey to becoming the #TravellingBartender?
It all started with a trip to Mexico in 2012 where I was lucky enough to represent South Africa in a global cocktail competition against bartenders from all over the world. The trip opened my eyes to the enormous opportunity for South African bartenders to really leave a lasting imprint on the global cocktail community. Post that trip I represented South Africa once again in France, Trinidad and Tobago, and Australia. Thanks to the high level of competition that I was exposed to during these competitions, I was inspired to further study my trade and I soon travelled to New York and London to educate myself in the finer art of bartending and spirits. I also trained around 10,000 bartenders over a two-year period in sixteen different African countries and I’ve consulted and assisted in the opening of bars all the way from Mauritius to Cairo. I now live and work in Dubai.
4. What life lessons have you picked up from constant travelling?
Firstly, I have learnt that travelling is not as glamourous as it seems. Spending time away from family and friends is really tough on relationships and one has to make a lot of sacrifices.
Secondly, I’ve learnt that a major benefit of travelling is that it opens up your mind to what the world has to offer. You learn about other cultures through food, drink, design, fashion, architecture etc.
5. What’s your ultimate summer refreshment?
The three essentials for the ultimate summer refreshment are that the drink has to be tall and refreshing, lower in ABV to allow you to have more than a couple and it should be easy enough to throw together at home… like the Angostura Rock Shandy:
Fill a tall glass with ice, add equal parts lemonade and soda water, top with 5 – 10 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters (or to taste), and garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.
6. Future plans for 2019?
2019 is going to be a big year for me and the team at Mootee. We’ll be opening another exciting bar called Smoking Kills, a faux dive bar that focusses on good times and rum, situated right next door to Mootee Bar in Melville, Johannesburg. In April we are set to open a third bar, also in close proximity to the above-mentioned bars, but at this stage I can’t share too much about this unique and exciting project. At Mootee we have eight international guest bartenders from the best bars in the world planning to visit us in Melville to share with our customers the best drinks from all over globe . We are also planning to travel to Greece, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Brazil, Russia and Lebanon to share our unique take on cocktails inspired by the African continent.
• Visit www.mootee.co.za
Win with the Angostura Rock Shandy!
There are six cocktail experiences of R5,000 each at SA’s top cocktail bars up for grabs!
Voted one of 2018's Top Ten Best New Cocktail Bars in the World, Mootee Bar has been selected as one of the six.
Enter at www.AngosturaRockShandy.co.za
And share your summer Angostura Rock Shandy’s on social media
Instagram – @angosturaza