There is no doubt that one of the biggest events of the coming week will be the 2019 Lagos Cocktail Week, which will take place on Wednesday 16 and Thursday, 17 of October 2019 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island.
Created by the CEO of Eventi Cocktails, Lara Rawa, Lagos Cocktails week, established to showcase the best of Nigeria’s cocktail culture, is a perfect midweek timeout for hardworking folks of Lagos.
Those who had experienced past editions of the event will be looking forward to the moment when they walk into the Cocktail Village once again to sample various drinks and cocktails from an omnibus bar that include Hennessy, Belvedere vodka, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s Gin and Fayrouz amongst others.
This year’s event is set to be bigger as it commemorates the 10th anniversary of Event Cocktails, the parent company of LCW.
Lara Rawa, a lawyer and certified mixologists spoke with TIMEOUT of what to expect in this year’s edition. She enumerated a list of impact programmes, which include
Do-It-Yourself photography and décor, seminars of forward-thinking topics (including coffee lifestyle, creativity and monetization, spirits marketing among others) and workshop on how to start bar, how to make syrup and bitters and how to manage brands. Bar Battle will take place as usual. This year, however, will have an international twist, as representatives from Ghana and other African countries are expected to participate in the competition.
The Lagos Cocktail week is an occasion where hobnobbing with bars, bartenders, mixologists and celebrities and captains of industries.
Lara Rawa told TIMEOUT about her transition from a lawyer to an entrepreneur.
“My transition into mixology was fueled by my passion for the art of cocktail making and ultimately inspired by a brief period of unemployment,” she said.
After studying Law, she obtained a master’s in International Business Law from Queen Mary University of London.
Though a believer in 9-5 jobs, she was forced to jettison being a career woman for entrepreneurship by circumstances beyond her control. “I had come back to Nigeria and I was working in a telecom device company, which was a start-up company. I enjoyed working in start-up companies, but things weren’t great at that time.”
“I began building my mixology career when I decided to establish my very own mobile bar company. I realised I would rather prefer to be working every weekend, so I sort of went into event planning. As a start-up event company, I wasn’t getting jobs every weekend, rather than weekdays, so I decided that since I liked to drink cocktails, I might as well go into the business. That was why I went into the cocktail business; because I enjoyed drinking cocktails and I needed a job at the time.”
Her defining moment was when she worked as a volunteer at the London Cocktail Week, “I got to see passion on a different level. Seeing the British and others in Europe, the way they expressed passion for their drinks and the passionate way they handled their business, helped me see beyond just serving cocktails. I realised it was actually a career. It wasn’t just about making money.”
She has succeeded in carving a niche for herself. “One of the spirit brands approached me to train over 30 bartenders for them all by myself in Lagos. I felt that was a privilege.”