Mixing it up: Joel Lonjamae is in love with mixing drinks. You may call him a mixologist but he prefers to be called a bartender. Besides having a permanent job, he expands his income base by doing private gigs.
What kind of job do you do?
I am a salesman behind the bar. I do not just sell liquor behind the bar, I also show guests how to enjoy their drinks to encourage responsible drinking as well as entertain them. Those who understand the kind of job I do are people who run restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels.
When did you decide to become a bartender?
I became a barman in 2009, a bartender in 2012 and a mixologist in 2014. The name changes with your level of profession. A mixologist is a bartender who has created his own cocktail recipes and has trained other bartenders. A mixologist is a bartender who has acquired enough experience in all areas of bartending. I prefer to be called a bartender because everyone working behind the bar wants to be called a mixologist.
Where did you learn this skill from?
The only school that teaches bartending is MBA, but I learnt how to bartend from the master bar academy that trains bartenders around Africa. They do it once a year and one person emerges winner. I was in 2014.
What does it take to be a good mixologist?
You can only be a good bartender/mixologist if you have a good attitude, passion, willing to share and always eager to learn.
What challenges do you face in this field?
The same challenges almost all bartenders face; Some guests are disrespectful and insult us, some guests are too rude. And in most cases management will take the guests side.
How much do you charge to mix at a function?
That depends on the function. Sometimes the function can be for only two hours, sometimes four or it could go longer. It also depends on the distance, the number of people and so on, but my charges normally start from Shs300,000 and above.
Is it a job someone should depend on?
I earn more than Shs1m a month because I have a job at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. But sometimes I organise activations for some bartenders. I work with reserve brands, I also get private gigs at weddings, introductions and other parties.
What high-level functions have you worked at?
I have worked at the British High Commissioner’s residence several times, I have worked at Sudhir Ruparelia’s functions at his premises, Kabira Country Club, Speke Resort Munyonyo. I also worked at Ne-Yo’s concert, among others.
How can someone acquire your services?
I can be reached on 0703730555/ 0781031942.