Having established a reputation as one of Cape Town’s cocktail hotspots in a sea of great cocktail bars, CAUSE|EFFECT recently re-opened in a bigger space at the V&A Waterfront. Locals tend to give Africa’s most-visited tourist attraction a wide berth, but the temptation of the expanded offering and a rebranding to CAUSE|EFFECT Cocktail Kitchen & Cape Brandy Bar may just change their minds.
Far from your generic ‘cool space with lurid drinks’, CAUSE | EFFECT backs up slick décor with a series of Cape-inspired cocktails that each tell a story. They make maximum use of the Cape’s mountain, oceans, fynbos and to deliver inventive elixirs. The process itself even becomes a décor element, with a solera system of barrels in which Old Fashioneds and Boulevardiers are slowly ageing takes pride of place. The copper stool-lined, stone-clad bar is lined with apothecary-style jars of herbs, spices and ingredients for the mixologists to play with. The foliage which adorns the roof is largely artificial, but lush.
One of the bar’s main selling points is that most ingredients are made in-house, including bitters, tinctures, vermouth, kombucha and cordials – and that should give you a clue as to the quality of the drinks themselves. In keeping with the theme of using local products, ‘fynbos’ (a type of vegetation endemic to the Cape and found only there) finds a home in almost every drink.
There are plenty of options to choose from, but if ‘spectacular’ is your game, order the ‘Nitro Martini’. Select your custom fynbos blend from the bunches strung up above the bar and watch as the mixologists freeze the flora in liquid nitrogen and infuse it into a martini of vodka and Caperitif. It doesn’t get more African than the ‘Tree Of Life’, with its baobab and cardamom bitters or a Margarita garnished with sea salt infused with lemon pelargonium.
South African brandy is dramatically underappreciated at home, despite regularly winning global awards and beating Cognac in competitive tastings – and the CAUSE | EFFECT team is out to change that. Their menu contains more than 60 handcrafted brandies from the Cape. Order some world-class examples for sipping or watch as the team blends them into cocktails that shimmer. Should you fall in love with a particular sprit, many of them are – unusually – also available for purchase by the bottle, from the bar.
There’s food, too, from a menu as eclectic as the drinks one – mostly small plates and platters overflowing with cheese, Coppa and Parma ham.
Book an advance spot at the Schweppes Bartender’s Lab. Seating just six guests, the experience sees a dedicated bartender bring the bar’s full sense of mind-bending creativity to bear on a cocktail & small plate pairing.
The Rocket Shed, 280 Dock Rd,
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.