One of Melville’s newest residents Mootee is both a place to get a great and unusual drink, and also a place that looks great on the 'gram'.
"Mootee is what we define as the modern representation of Africa. Africa as we know it, not as the world sees it,” said one of Mootee's owners and South Africa’s best bartender for 2016 Dom Walsh. Focusing on experimental cocktails, Mootee brings a fresh African take to on Johannesburg’s burgeoning cocktail scene.
One of the bar tenders, Denzel Heath, gives his two favourites from the menu from the menu:
Inspired by an original fictional African tale about the circle of life:
“Those who live must die. It is the inevitable circle of life. For Mopane, known to his friends as Mashonza, this inevitable truth was now coming to fruition. As he lay on his back, his wife tightly clutching his wing in hers, he reflected. Now an old brown emperor moth, Mashonza reminisced about his youth as a caterpillar. He was blessed and free, spending his days baking in the hot sun and foraging for crunchy mango leaves. He anticipated a long and adventurous future.
He remembered when he went into a deep slumber – tightly wrapped – the peace and quiet of his solitude, followed by the freedom that came when his newly formed wings sang as they navigated the wind. His first flight was nothing short of exhilarating!
And so, as he drew his last breath, he knew he wouldn’t change a thing. He had lived a full and splendid life.”
All of the ingredients of Mashonza are inspired by the Mopane worm – an African delicacy that is a great source of protein. Locust Bean Tequila, which is produced by rapid infusing Locust bean, which tastes like salted liquorice chocolate, with Reposado Tequila, using a sonic prep is swizzled with smoked agave syrup, Aperol, Fynbos grappa infused with mango leaf and freshly pressed Naartjie juice. We custom designed the ceramic cocoon with an African ceramicist and the drink is garnished with a smoked Mopane worm, served on a bed of candyfloss.
As the Mootee cocktail menu is a celebration of African culture, naturally we were inspired by the all the cultures of the continent of Africa, including drinks inspired by Kenya, Namibia, Malawi and of course South Africa. Growing up there was always one treat that stood out for me, above all other and that was my grandmother's koeksusters (PS, we spell it koeksister, as amalgamate English and Afrikaans culture). Sweet syrup and crunchy buttery goodness. The koeksister negroni was created to conjure up the nostalgia of eating your first succulent traditional dessert.
The drink was furthermore inspired by the iconic 1995 visit of the late Nelson Mandela and Mrs Verwoerd, that took place in Oranje. After being freed in 1994, Mandela started his necessary pursuit of peace and reconciliation and in such an attempt he went to meet with the wife of the very person whose government had imprisoned him. After Mrs Verwoerd had declined his initial invitation to join him and a number of other widows - black and white - for tea, Madiba went the extra mile (as he always did) and arranged to meet Mrs Verwoerd at her home. There the 2 had a private exchange over tea and koeksusters.
The drink is made with Rooibos infused Campari, a koeksuster syrup which consists of vanilla and sunflower seeds and aromatic fortified wine. The result is then fatwashed with melted butter to round off the finish of every sip. This drink was designed to be a celebration of the future of South Africa, but also a staunch reminder of our unacceptable past. A prosperous future which is only possible, if all South Africans go that extra mile to reconcile our past and look to build a thriving future together.