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Having been at the forefront of the South African mixology scene since 2000, Gareth Wainwright understands what makes a great drink. He built and launched The Landmark in Bryanston, one of Joburg’s hottest cocktail bars, Wainwright now heads up The Republican Drinks Agency and consults on new menus throughout South Africa. He told us about the drink trends to look out for.

What trends are you seeing in mixology at the moment? worldclass-michelangelo-highres-035-min

The market at large is firmly entrenched in learning as much as they can about what they are consuming. They want to know the history, the process and all the other tidbits that go into a meal or drink – a trend I am definitely for.

What would you say is the drink of the moment?

Whilst it will take something drastic to topple a well-made Mojito from its throne, I am noticing a lean towards some boozy cocktails such as Old Fashioned’s and Martinis (not with vodka of course) and people have a hankering for a well-made Scotch or American Whiskey Sour.

What should we be drinking?worldclass-michelangelo-highres-116-min

Winter is citrus season in SA so I would go for anything with lime, lemon, orange or grapefruit such as a Hemingway Daiquiri or a classic Daiquiri (sans strawberries). It’s a lot easier to get a semi decent martini at a few bars these days so having one of those before a meal is wonderful: just check that the vermouth is fresh and in the fridge.

Where should we be drinking?

The Landmark still makes the best cocktails in town by a long shot, and by some of my favourite people on the planet. Ace and Pearl is still my favourite wine bar in Jozi as I never have the same wine twice and I am always educated when I leave. Such a special place.

Where can we find you to have a drink together?WC JHB workshop1-highres-189-min

My next project, The Mesh Club, which will be open by August, will also be quite the drinking den with some interesting takes on cocktails and an explorer’s wine list. And if you’re are a member, you might just be able to get your bar snacks from David Higgs upstairs.



The Republican Drinks Agency


Words: Lucy Sarah Heaney  | Images: Supplied

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