I recently spent a week and a half in South Africa. A great trip by all accounts – one in which I was overzealous in making sure I had a proper cocktail as often as I could. This was a bit difficult to do given a packed itinerary that involved many early mornings – but I would not be deterred!
Although I had many drinks on my trip, some new (hello, Amarula!) and some old (goodbye, Vodka Soda), I had my first true cocktail on my final night in Johannesburg. I went with my friend and some of his cousins to Hudson’s, a new spot in the Parkhurst neighborhood of Johannesburg. Hudson’s is a burger joint first and foremost, but they did have a decent cocktail list and what appeared to be a well-stocked bar, so I scanned the menu and ordered a Giant Gin Julep.
Frankly, the drink didn’t sound especially exciting, but after a long day spent game spotting in the bush and an early flight the next day, I wanted something relatively tame and hangover-proof. The drink consisted of local gin, muddled cucumber, soda, and mint. It was served on ice in what was essentially a giant cocktail shaker.
The drink was plain, but I was OK with that. It was light, crisp, and refreshing, perfect for a warm summer’s night. I was more excited to experience the warm hospitality of the restaurant’s owner, a friend of one in our party, who sat down and who joined us for a bit. He wanted to know more about New York (the restaurant takes its name and inspiration from the Big Apple), and I wanted to know about his new business and their bar program.
What I’ll remember most about this particular stop around the world may not be the drink itself, but the friends I made and the warm and friendly ambience of this awesome neighborhood spot.
4th Avenue & 14th Street
Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa