Sundowners: it’s a word that’s synonymous with summer holidays and evokes images of evening sunlight glinting off your cold cocktail, with sand in your toes and salt on your skin.
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With the festive season underway, Luane Lavery, Brand Communication Manager for kulula.com suggests the following venues and tipples this holiday, including some old favourites and some new hotspots.
Shimmy Beach Club, near the V&A Waterfront has a pool, a restaurant, a faux beach and a superb view of Table Bay. Try its Kinky Afro: cream liqueur, brandy, gourmet chocolate, caramel syrup, peanut butter and fresh cream. It’s a milkshake for grown-ups. Like most joints offering sundowners, Shimmy Beach Club offers alcohol-free ones, like its Safe Sex on the Beach: cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, peach nectar and a maraschino cherry.
If you fancy something a little different to the usual sundowners with umbrellas, rum and fresh fruit and nudge-nudge-wink-wink names, try the Craft Beer and Canapé Experience at the Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles Hotel. The hosts have combined the popularity of craft beer with that of food-pairings: five good, locally-produced brews are matched with canapés, with a focus on local produce.
Ons Huisie in Blouberg sounds like a beach cottage owned by a farmer from Ficksburg, but it’s long been a favourite with locals and visitors for its wines and its views over Table Bay toward Robben Island. If you happen to be visiting with kids and pets, both are welcome, and there is a secure play area.
In Durban there are three bars that will serve you a good drink at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, including the Lighthouse Bar, named for the red-and-white landmark it overlooks. It has imposing views of the Indian Ocean and surrounding beaches. Lavery suggests trying the Umhlanga Schling, made with cane-sugar and cane-spirit.
moyo at uShaka Marine World has an enviable position on South Beach, a good selection of cocktails, like the African Sunset (Spiced Gold rum and peach schnapps muddled with fresh strawberries, mixed berry puree and fresh limes, served tall, capped with crushed ice and finished with a fresh orange float) and a proudly South African wine list. In line with the moyo franchise, the fare is African-inspired and includes platters to share.
A little further afield, Bel Punto in Umdloti Beach serves a variety of cocktails and has a good wine list. If you choose to stay for a meal, the emphasis is firmly on seafood and Mediterranean flavours.
A landmark of the Pollock Beach area, the Something Good Roadhouse has had a reboot while retaining its surfer-hangout identity. It’s the sort of place you can go to straight from the beach with your family, with Sailor’s Lemonade (Double Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum with homemade lemonade) for the grown-ups and lemon meringue milkshake for the youngsters. Its menu includes wraps, burgers, pizzas and waffles, and it overlooks the city’s excellent Blue Flag beaches.
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The Tabú Bar & Lounge at the Radisson Blu Hotel eschews the beachfront-bohemian vibe from something more sophisticated and mature, with live jazz and a good wine list that includes Champagne and Cap Classique.
Richmond Hill is a hothouse of urban renewal and fashionable dining in the city, and Soho on Stanley is at the centre of that, with skilled mixologists. Try the burnt mango caipirinha.
The White Tiger Bar + Café on the Humewood Promenade is mostly a restaurant by day and a nightclub after dark, when the emphasis shifts from tapas to beautiful young things gyrating to house music and classic vinyls. Cocktails include the Cosmopolitan with vodka, cranberry juice and triple sec, and Long Island Iced Teas.
Lastly, says Lavery, remember that if you can’t drink alcohol, or choose not to, most outlets do “virgin” or booze-free cocktails. Bear in mind too that drinking on the beach is illegal.
For those who like to enjoy their cocktails at home by the pool, you can also try these great cocktail recipes: