SHAKE IT UP AT THE TWANKEY BAR AT THE TAJ CAPE TOWN HOTEL

SHAKE IT UP AT THE TWANKEY BAR AT THE TAJ CAPE TOWN HOTEL

The Twankey Bar at the Taj Cape Town Hotel is fast making a name for itself as one of the city’s leading cocktail bars. And the credit goes to head bartender AJ Snetler, who spent 2017 scooping up a host of awards in South Africa and abroad.

When the self-taught mixologist from Port Elizabeth moved to Cape Town in 2015, he was soon making waves behind the city’s bar counters. From popular nightspot Drop Kick Murphy’s Snetler moved on to acclaimed cocktail emporium The Orphanage, before being spirited away to head up The Twankey Bar earlier this year.

“I’ve…
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BLOWN AWAY BY THE WINDY CITY

BLOWN AWAY BY THE WINDY CITY

There’s an icy breeze, whipping in off Lake Michigan, making short work of the woefully thin jacket I’ve brought along to the Windy City. Chicago is certainly living up to its nickname on this cloudy spring day, but it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to soak up one of the most impressive city skylines on the planet.

“Chicago has always been a laboratory for architects,” explains our guide over the loudspeakers, as our river cruise makes a turn at Navy Pier and heads back into the network of canals that flow through downtown Chicago.

We sail past buildings…
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The First Lady of SA wine – Norma Ratcliffe

The First Lady of SA wine – Norma Ratcliffe

Norma Ratcliffe never intended to spend her days in a South African wine cellar, crafting some of the Cape’s most celebrated red wines. Instead, the Canadian-born matriarch of Warwick wine estate outside Stellenbosch had a career in textiles in mind, until a chance holiday encounter in the Greek isles with a South African farmer brought her to South Africa in 1971.

Her late-husband Stan purchased Warwick estate in 1964, but Ratcliffe didn’t start making wine until 1974. “Stan and I had a big bond on the farm and we didn’t have any money to invest in a cellar; instead we invested…
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It’s gin o’clock

It’s gin o’clock

From Australia to the UK, craft gins have become the hottest bottle behind the bar and local distillers have been quick to catch onto the trend: in the wake of the craft beer revolution, burnished copper potstills across SA are bubbling away as distillers dabble in small-batch gins.

Like wine, craft gins are increasingly showing their “terroir”, as African botanicals are blended into the traditional mix of juniper, citrus and herbs.

Perhaps the most interesting examples come from the Western Cape, where fynbos flavours loom large, with distillers using everything from buchu to kapokbos and honey…
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Bosjes brings style to the Breedekloof

Bosjes brings style to the Breedekloof

On a family-owned farm dating back to 1790 is one of the most exciting openings of the year in the Cape winelands. Bosjes – Dutch for ‘small bushes’ – opened its doors in March 2017 in the scenic Breedekloof, a valley little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

This corner of the Cape winelands is experiencing something of a renaissance, and Bosjes is a striking new addition to the region. At the heart of the estate is Die Skuur, a stylish five-bedroom guesthouse framing a private pool and entertainment area. Although rooms can be booked individually, Die Skuur is…
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The Long Road to Odzala, Congo

The Long Road to Odzala, Congo

Roasted peanuts and an ice-cold crocodile. Those are the abiding memories of my first night in Brazzaville, the colourful capital of the Republic of Congo. We bought half a dozen roasted peanut-filled cones in twists of newspaper and spread them out on a plastic pavement table. The tavern- owner delivered a crate of chilled Ngok’ beers and we were all set for sundowners, Brazzaville-style.

I was heading north to the rainforests, but it made sense to spend at least one night in “Brazza”, the tiny cousin of mega-city Kinshasa across the Congo River. It’s a…
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