Tipples by the lake
By Nailantei Norari
A cormorant bobs in and out of the water. A hamerkop juts majestically on the jetty at Mfangano Island Lodge.
Weaverbirds sing as the Lake Victoria waves kiss the shore, making a beautiful sound that is as hypnotic as it is therapeutic.
The solitary little egret looks over the lake from its patch atop a nearby rock. This is clearly an ornithologist’s paradise.
Vervet monkeys chatter in the nearby fig trees. I sip a cold margarita at the bar, surrounded by nature and at peace.
Tucked on the northern bay of Lake Victoria, c is a beautiful and idyllic getaway, where there is a surfeit of fresh meals prepared on order, and more than enough alcoholic tipples to swim in, especially if one gets tired of swimming in their pool.
The beautiful lakeside view is an added bonus.
Teddy Ongweno Odiembo is a masterful mixologist, barista and barman. He has been working with Mfangano Island Lodge since 2001.
He can wake you up with either a well-crafted cocktail or a well-brewed cup of coffee; your choice. He shares about his love for service over my margarita.
He has vast knowledge on alcohol and coffee as he has had both formal and informal training on beverages in various camps across the country. He has also undertaken several short courses at Utalii College.
“The thing that surprises people most about me is that I am a teetotaller. I only taste alcohol when mixing cocktails or while experimenting. Tasting cocktails is the only way I can gauge how well a cocktail came out, or how to better balance it to fit my clientele’s palate. I started as a barman more than two decades ago, and have never looked back since,” Mr Ongweno shares.
As testament to his skill, he makes a craft cocktail dubbed the Mfangano Island Lodge sunset drink, a multi-hued drink whose colours are as vibrant as the russet-hued sunsets that one experiences while at the lodge.
He shares how he leverages the Internet to keep abreast of the ever-evolving world of drinks. The mixologist is happiest when his clients are happy.
This is self-evident as he happily makes another margarita for me and readily shares the recipe. Hope you use it to make yourself a tasty margarita, even as you plan a getaway to this secluded spot.
Idyllic spots should be kept secret among friends. So, do not tell anyone else about Mfangano Island Lodge and its wonderful alcoholic elixirs.
Unless of course they are your friends, in which case, you can rave all about it almost as much as I have.