The late afternoon sun dapples the gardens at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria, the scent of Bougainvillea perfuming the urbane driveway.
Abisoye Balogun, cocktail mixologist was seated at the lobby awaiting my arrival. We exchanged pleasantries as I engaged her on the art of mixing cocktails and creating tasty chapman drinks.
Balogun has been around for a while tending the appetite of her exquisite clients with rare blends of flavoursome drinks. She is one of the many mixologists rustling up the Lagos social scenes with cocktails and chapman drinks, employing ingredients that are grown or foraged locally, and often using spirits made internationally, too.
Some of Balogun’s creations include chapman drink garnished with lemon, lemon grass, pineapples, apples, strawberries among other exotic fruits. Her cocktails include vodka infused with parsley and a Bloody Mary made with bay leaves.
“I love to create my drinks with very natural fruits, that’s for chapman and smoothies,” she says. “They are very natural. I carefully select the kind of ingredients I use to suit the taste of my clients. A client is free to make a choice of what he or she wants, though. I can make that dream come true.”
At the heart of Balogun’s services is the creation of bespoke fruit drinks specially tailored to meet her client’s taste. Put simply, she creates bespoke drinks suited to an individual’s tastes and personality. “We pride ourselves in making bespoke cocktails and fruit drinks specifically made to suit our clients taste. We ensure we create it the way our client wants it.”
The process of Balogun’s bespoke service begins in a client’s home with her notepad and perhaps her trolley full of spirits, fruits, mixers, bitters and all the necessary accoutrements needed.
She then runs her clients through a barrage of multiple-choice questions. She wants to know how her client wants the drink. That is, if he wants one reflecting a fresher side of his personality (typically lighter and fruitier) the other more classic (typically stronger and more old-fashioned). Her bespoke recipes are best kept secrets for her clients.
Balogun prides herself in delivering modern twists on old favourites with her unique blend of Fanta orange, Sprite, unsweetened Hibiscus tea, concentrated blackcurrant, angosturas bitters, fresh Lime and ice cubes for her chapman drink.
“I always strive to create a unique blend of chapman drink for my clients and not only that there are fruit smoothies that are specifically tailored to suit the buds of the client.”
A graduate of Banking and Finance, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Balogun is a trained mixologist and has catered for the party needs of some high profile individual and corporate clients.
“Our portfolio cuts across different sectors. We cater for big parties like wedding, birthday parties, tea parties at offices or any exclusive home party,” she adds.
Finally, she is venturing into creating new line of cocktails using some unique herbs like thyme, basil, rosemary, chives. The herb will be the latest addition to her cocktail list.