Cool man of cocktails

2008-11-07 00:00

Durban bartender Ryan Duvenhage is the king of mixing exotic cocktails.

The laid-back Duvenhage was crowned South Africa’s cocktail champion after he impressed judges at the Good Food & Wine Show in Johannesburg earlier this week.

Duvenhage won the competition by creating two exotic rum-based cocktails — Conquistador and Hierba Buena — which scored top points for their aroma and taste.

His passion and dedication to cocktail mixing has paid off: the ambitious bartender will represent South Africa at the World Cocktail Championships in Berlin next year.

Duvenhage will compete against hundreds of bartenders from 57 countries and get the opportunity to meet bar veterans.

Five years ago, he stumbled into bartending by accident, but soon took a keen interest in cocktails and started whipping up colourful concoctions for friends and family.

“After I completed school, I needed a part-time job, so I started bartending in a local bar. I loved mixing up cocktails because it was fun and interesting that you could make so many different drinks,” he said.

He loves creating cocktails so much that he also trains other bartenders.

“It’s an exciting world which has many facets to it. Being involved in the training has helped me take my passion for cocktail creation to another level,” he added.

So does he have a favourite cocktail?

“It would be crazy to choose one. There are several that I enjoy, it all depends on my mood, the person I’m with and the occasion,” he said.

Duvenhage also enjoys thinking up names for his cocktails. “I like my drinks to have serious names, so I put a lot of thought behind the names. Yes, there are weird names out there, but I like mine cool and tasteful.”

He is ecstatic about his trip to Berlin. “Berlin has a huge cocktail culture … I’m so excited that I will represent the country there.”

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