Greetings from Africa! (Two non-superhero cocktail recipes)

Hello, dear cocktail drinkers, and a Happy New Year 2018!

(This time I’ll publish two cocktails, but they’ve nothing to do with superheroes. Don’t worry, I will return to heroes in the next post… but keep on reading. Some might judge this post as “commercial in nature”, but since I won’t be referring to any trademarked superheroes I guess it’s okay.)

My trip to Rwanda and Uganda was truly amazing… but this blog is not about travelling, but cocktails. Still, I’m compelled to tell you a little bit about Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda: it truly is a beautiful place. Just a couple of pictures from my boat trip early in the morning, still with some mist in the air…



I could spam dozens of photos of Lake Bunyonyi, but I’ll just tease you with these two; you’ll have to visit the place yourself… and there’s another reason for visiting the lake: certain local hotel serves two cocktails, designed by Yours Truly!

Before arriving to Lake Bunyonyi, while travelling through southwestern Uganda, I’d been sipping local specialty almost every evening, “after a hard day’s work”…


Uganda Waragi, Ugandan Premium Gin.

“Waragi” translates as “moonshine”, but local distillery has made a brand of that traditional term. Well, as a gin Waragi can’t compete with quality brands… because, to be honest, it’s “firewater”! Anyway, something in Waragi’s brutal aroma brought me to order it evening after evening…

Aftertaste has some gin elements, but the first kick is overwhelmingly fruity, backed up with raw “bouquet” of ethanol… I wouldn’t call this “gin” but “fruity vodka-ish”.

At my last night in Uganda, after dinner, I got an idea… why not design a cocktail using local alcohol? The hotel offered some cocktails in their list, of course, but they were global sure choices… I wanted some “local colour”… so, with the help of the most co-operative staff I developed a cocktail thematically linked to the lake…

…and maybe I’m pretty competent cocktail drunkard, since I nailed it with first try! So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present…

Punishment Island


-3 parts Uganda Waragi

-1 part Midori

-dash of lime

Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Photo is from that particular moment the cocktail was born. I ordered another, with a larger portion of Midori, but that wasn’t satisfactory. I tried the first version next day before the lunch, using couple of my co-travellers as Test Subjects… and it still was a great cocktail, so I guess it’s safe to publish it.

Even though Midori is a sweet liqueur, I would serve “Punishment Island” as a apertif. But what’s this “Punishment Island” thing?…


Punishment Island.

Punishment Island is the most notorious of  Lake Bunyonyi’s 29 islands. In the old days, non-married women giving birth were shipped to that small islet with their baby, both to be starved to death as punishment.

Pretty brutal, but luckily those days are long gone. I named the cocktail after that island because I wanted to give hotel’s cocktail list some local colour… and drinking too many “Punishment Islands” certainly will PUNISH you next morning! ;P

I’m happy to say that hotel manager loved with my creation. I bought a bottle of Uganda Waragi and brought it to Finland: I wanted to offer “Punishment Island” to my Regular Test Subjects (they approved it, too).

Also, I promised the hotel manager to design another cocktail using local Waragi, send him the recipe when I discover something worth publishing… so here it is…

Pygmy Dance

Totally non-photoshopped (and pretty crude) picture of “Pygmy Dance” on my kitchen table, with ingredients on the background.


-3 parts Uganda Waragi

-2 parts Amaretto di Saronno

-2 parts Coca-Cola

Stir ingredients with ice (shaking Coke isn’t such a great idea), strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail cherry.

(Inspiration to this drink came from Batwa Pygmy People I visited on the other side of the lake)

I designed Pygmy Dance as a digestive, sweet dessert… you could also try 5 parts Waragi, 3 parts both Disaronno and Coke for more generic cocktail. Since you probably won’t be able to get hold of a bottle of Waragi, you can substitute it by using the dryest London Dry Gin you can find. It won’t be the same… but better than nothing. Unfortunately “Punishment Island” can’t be produced with substitutes (I tried), you’ll just have travel to Uganda…

…(here’s the commercial part) and visit Birdnest Resort at a shore of Lake Bunyonyi!


View from my room.


Birdnest Resort, as seen from the lake.

I generally don’t approve bloggers openly advertizing things, I personally don’t do it (since I don’t own rights of any of the superheroes I design cocktails to, just doing this for non-profit fun)… but since this post doesn’t contain any references to copyrighted superhero characters, I dare to tell you that Birdnest Resort at Lake Bunyonyi is a great place… because of the scenery, of the flora and fauna… and their cocktail list contains a couple of great designs by Yours Truly ;P

I didn’t make any deal deal with the hotel, I will not get a penny for telling that Birdnest is a great place (it is, honestly)… but I hope you’ll visit Lake Bunyonyi (give my Best Wishes to Isaac at Birdnest’s bar ;P) and visit pygmys: they are a proud people, with heritance of hunterer-gatherers, now forced to live in povetry and squalor… please buy their nice handicraft to support them.

Next time we’ll return to blog’s actual topic, superheroes. No more praising particular hotels… but a few pictures of wildlife, since it inspired me to design superhero cocktails!


9 thoughts on “Greetings from Africa! (Two non-superhero cocktail recipes)”

  1. I hope you’ve got some Waragi left for me to try, too! 😀
    The story behind Punishment Island is way too sad, I must say… The cocktail, though, seems pretty inviting!


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