Take a sip of Sangria and you are transported to the sun soaked Spanish coast. Have a refreshing glass of Pimms made with all the trimmings and you’re at an English summer barbeque. While we may take them for granted as sweeter versions of our favorite liquor, cocktails can not only be the perfect way to mark special occasion with friends, but also a symbol of a nation.
Nairobi has a thriving bar scene with a growing number of talented bar tenders and mixologists who are constantly creating new and innovative drinks, but there is one that stands the test of time. One that can be found on every single cocktails list. One, that is almost exclusively found in Kenya – The Dawa.
Today different establishments have created their own versions of the iconic drink from the non-alcoholic Java version to the popular happy hour option at Art Café. But despite being available almost everywhere, there is only one original. One place that can officially claim itself as the home of the Dawa, the place it was conceived – Carnivore.
Known for its selection of exotic meats, The Carnivore also claims the popular cocktail as its own. The story goes that the original Dr. Dawa is Samson Kivelenge who worked for the restaurant since 1980 and named the cocktail because, “It treats your stomach so that you have an appetite for the meat.”
The drink which is based on the Brazilian national drink the Caipirinha was first brought to Kenya by company chairman Martin Dunford, where the main ingredient was changed to Vodka and adding honey.
Today while, most establishments stick to the original recipe of Vodka, lime, Honey, sugar and ice, there are usually a few variations. However, if you are looking to taste the original Dawa, the new Tamarind tree hotel located next to Carnivore is the perfect place.
The hotel which opened this year in March, also opened a new Dawa lounge. The lounge is a modern, beautiful bar with art pieces adorning the walls and a sophisticated and stylish ambience that makes it the perfect place for a drink with friends.While they sell a fantastic selection of cocktails and other drinks, it is their dedication to honoring the original Dr. Dawa that makes it stand out.
The hotel itself is an elegant and luxurious option for tourists, particularly due to its close proximity to the national park, Giraffe center and elephant orphanage. It also boasts the largest standard rooms in the city. With a beautiful selection of suites, a fantastic restaurant and many other amenities, it is a welcome addition to the area.
So if you would like to taste a bit of history, be sure to visit the Dawa lounge at the Tamarind Tree hotel for the perfect homage to the popular Kenyan cocktail.