It had been a long time since I’d had a decent cocktail, having spent August in Bungoma and Kisumu, towns that you can’t find decent food or a good cocktail, if you needed one.
Actually, after having a meh Mohito at Roan Bar and Restaurant in Kisumu, I canceled out all intentions to try any other made-by-order drink in both towns. I could have changed my mind in Bungoma, but the food (a basic need) in most restaurants was so terrible I couldn’t fathom them putting any effort in fancy things like cocktails.
Honestly, Bungoma was a great disappointment on so many fronts, sad to see a town sleeping on so much potential, seeing as those I met visiting are quite a number. Tip: If you don’t want to eat while gnashing your teeth in Bungoma, because of anger at the atrocities served to you in the name of food, go to Tuutis Restaurant. Decent place, decent meals, very good service.
By the time I was back in Nairobi I couldn't wait to indulge in some great food and bomb cocktails, just to remind my system that kama kawaida, we deserve better. And where better to go than Charlie's Bistro!
Truth is, I had never been to Charlie's before. My intention was to randomly pick a tip from The Kenyan Bar Guy's reviews and try out one of the places he'd recommended for good drinks. I had settled on The Brooke at After 40 Hotel but was persuaded by another human to try Charlie’s.
So, I'm sitting at Charlie's, taking in the beautiful ambiance, feeling quite at home, staring at people AND THEIR ORDERS. Because I'm those people of 'niletee kama hiyo', which is exactly how I settled on Bullfrog. The ladies sitting across me looked they were having so much fun with it, I had to have a taste.
Bullfrog is beautiful to look at. Heck, the light bulb cocktail glass it is served in is such an aesthetic. A really pretty addition to your table.
But guys, I had ONE SIP and almost died.
No. Honestly. One sip of the drink and I got confused for a minute.
At some point, you want to order an alternative because you can swear you can't feel your fingers and your bum is getting hot. But he is this beautiful blue and has a gentle sourness that makes you want to hold the drink just a little bit longer in your mouth.
The alcohol shot straight through to my brain. I wanted to ask the ladies how they were managing, or I’m the one who’s been out of range for a while? They seemed not even slightly affected by the drink! Just chatting away, giggling at something on their phones.
The guy serving me walked over and asked if I was okay.
'For now, yes.'
He chuckled and looked over at another group of young women he'd just served a colourful set of cocktails.
'What are the names of what they've ordered?'
'You don't want to know, trust me. Those are mocktails, I gather not your kinda drink.'
'They could be if you just add a tot of vodka.'
The Bullfrog is sleek. Rams into you hard at first, then slows, giving gentle mild strokes. A skilled lover, he is. And confusing. At some point, you want to order an alternative because you can swear you can't feel your fingers and your bum is getting hot. But he is this beautiful blue and has a gentle sourness that makes you want to hold the drink just a little bit longer in your mouth. Swirl and swoosh him, turn him over, take him all the way to your throat then bring him back to the lips. Taste him, feel him. Connect with him before letting him drown into the darkness yonder.
The menu says the Bullfrog is a cocktail of four white spirits splattered with red bull and lemonade, dazzled with blue citrus liqueur. I can get where the 'bull' inspiration came from but what about the frog? Ha! Is there something about those 'fupi nono round' creatures I don't know? Maybe because one sip na uko maji, kama chura. Ha. Bad joke. I know.
I had another. Imagine. I shouldn't have. I know. I was done for the day by the time I was halfway through the first, aki it's just the devil I swear. And the good music and the lovely crowd that is at Charlie’s. And the fact that I’d been having so much on my mind I couldn't say no to a temporary escape.
Would I recommend it? Yes. If you believe in yourself to handle it. A friend told me later than he suspects that drink is usually mixed with a bit of chang’aa. Because what it does to you is suspect for such a pretty cocktail; a personality I totally vibe with.
Try one, or two. While at it, please ask them for me exactly what ‘white spirits’ they really use in that drink.