A Tale of Signature Cocktails at Norfolk

By Leila Namisango

Every now and then I get subtle reminders of just how far back some classic cocktails go. The latest one was just recently while finally watching Mad Men and hearing a character ordering a Mai Tai. So when Silvia from the Fairmont Norfolk’s Cin Cin bar is taking us (me and other lifestyle writers) through their new cocktail menu I feel like I am being drawn back to the early 1900’s. Although, a whole century has gone by we all had the same reasons for wanting to down a cocktail or two. Business meetings, dates, heartbreak, celebration or just one for the road as you wait for traffic to ease down.

The new cocktails you can now partake at Cin Cin are a reflection of some of the iconic guests who stayed at the hotel, former owner and his family, as well as their well known and frequented bars.

The night of the sampling; the bar is quite busy and I find the rest of the crew all set up at the separate island marble table chatting away as they munch some bar snacks. A few minutes later, we get down to the business of the day and we first try out the Cranberry and Cucumber Mojito.

The instructions are to at least try and taste all of the five and settle for what you like most.

Next up is the “Tempting Marylyn”, a gin based cocktail with pineapple juice, sugar syrup and some cut green chilies. Can I just say if you love pilipili in your food and have never had some in a cocktail you really should!

So far some of us have already fallen for the refreshing mojito and some myself included are ready to declare the Tempting Marylyn as their fave…. Gin is bae!

Silvia continues to entice us with more drinks as she shares the vision behind its creation. When she introduces “Sara’s Eye” and says it is named after the wife of Abraham …. we were all raising an eyebrow. Turns out Sara was married to Abraham Block who owned the hotel from 1927 to 1982. She loved rum so this cocktail is rum based.

The next two drinks are the interestingly named “Celibrataire” (wink wink) which has to be one of the most delicious bourbon cocktails I have had in a while and “The Sundowner” that pays homage to the Delemare bar which was the “epicenter of Nairobi social life” back then.

The favourites in the room really ranged and I personally remember and liked what each cocktail tasted liked. Maybe it’s because they use the good stuff- liquor wise, just enough ice and fresh ingredients. A lot of thought has also gone in to how well everything goes together.

You know it’s almost a sin to drink on an empty stomach so as soon as we all had our preferred cocktail; the chef had prepared a delectable range of tapas for us to enjoy.

If you love a good cocktail, check out Cin Cin and let us know what you think!