Dari Restaurant, off Ngong Road, is a zen spot, where one can quietly catch up with friends while nursing a beer, whether at the bar or out in the garden. You can also order a cocktail of your liking.
Mixologist Willis Nalo is the guy we find behind the counter when my colleague Gerald and I stroll in for some cocktails. With over nine years of mixology experience, Willis is more than willing to show us how to prepare a strawberry daiquiri, all from memory.
He adeptly moves around the bar as he tells us of his craft and career growth. Immediately after high school, Willis, who has many mixologists as friends, would see said friends mixing drinks and getting compliments from clients. He was fascinated by the craft and decided to dive in.
He would go for short courses from time to time to help better his skills. He would also watch YouTube tutorials so as to keep abreast of the mixology world. He still does.
“The one thing I have learnt is that the foundation of mixology is the need to know how different alcoholic drinks taste when dry with no chaser, and how the taste changes when combined with other alcohol or bar ingredients,” he says.
Fresh from a three-year stint at Purdy Arms, Willis surprises us with the news that he is a teetotaler. “I am extremely proud of my job.
My wife and kid visit at times and watch me work. I just simply chose to not take alcohol. I can take to learn how it tastes, but not to get high,” he explains. We are indeed inspired by his discipline and vow to be like him when we grow up.
The strawberry daiquiris are ready in no time and they do not disappoint. The tanginess of the lime juice prevents the cocktail from being overly sweet.
We sip away and agree that we always associate great cocktails with mixologists who more often than not partake in the boozing. We are glad to highlight our bias, thanks to Willis’ great daiquiri and promise to work on it.
“You should be able to know why your client does not like your cocktail so that you can tailor the next one to their needs. Is it the sugar, the puree or the alcohol to other ingredients ratio in the cocktail?” he concludes with this helpful tip for upcoming mixologists.
Over and above the tip, we got you the recipe because December is almost here and that is a good enough excuse to booze up. Not that we ever needed an excuse to start with anyway.
Sugar, strawberry and lemon slice to garnish
Pass a lemon on the rim of the serving glass then dip it in sugar.
Pour out some lime juice, strawberry puree, two shots of Bacardi rum and some sugar syrup into a cobbler shaker.
Add some ice to the shaker and then shake it all up.
Strain into your glass.
Put the strawberry on the sugared rim to garnish.