People

Growing Ghana's Cocktail Culture

Bartending isn't considered a professional occupation in Ghana just yet, but Taacoam founder Ebenezer Tetteh is determined to change that.
Ebenezer Tetteh created Taacoam, a cocktail catering company, to both educate bartenders and bring craft cocktails to the masses in Ghana.
Ebenezer Tetteh created Taacoam, a cocktail catering company, to both educate bartenders and bring craft cocktails to the masses in Ghana.

"When I first came to Kumasi, I ordered a Cosmopolitan, and they served it in a Hurricane glass."

Ebenezer Tetteh is recalling the bar scene (or lack thereof) in Kumasi, Ghana when he first moved there a few years ago. Today, things are changing, thanks in no small part to Tetteh taking it upon himself to become a cocktail ambassador for the West African country.

Enter Taacoam, a hospitality company Tetteh founded that focuses on showcasing African-styled cocktails with an emphasis on regional herbs and fruits. "The reason I created Taacoam is because Africans are not one," Tetteh explains. "We don't team up. but this is something that's going on all over the continent. I wanted to create something that is distinct, something you can't get in the UK or US."

Taacoam's very first event was a welcome party for students at the local university. Today, his team tackles a variety of jobs, including custom cocktail catering at weddings, corporate events, and private parties, as well as ongoing training for aspiring bartenders.

"I want to to be known as a hospitality company that trains bartenders in Ghana," says Ebenezer Tetteh, pictured here with his Taacoam team. "I want to to be known as a hospitality company that trains bartenders in Ghana," says Ebenezer Tetteh, pictured here with his Taacoam team.

Tetteh began bartending in 2010 as a part-time job after he'd finished school. But there were hurdles along the way. "In Ghana, bartending is not that respected," he says. "I found myself frustrated, so I looked up bartenders from different countries who were raising the bar from behind the bar. I decided to learn everything I could — from training programs to buying books online — I just wanted to understand everything about bartending."

Tetteh poured over books by such industry stalwarts as Gaz Regan and Dale DeGroff, and enrolled in Diageo's Master Bar Academy, earning a different type of "MBA" along the way.

Today, Tetteh wears two hats, as the head bartender at The View Bar in Kumasi, and as the founder of Taacoam. "I want [Taacoam] to be known as a hospitality company that trains bartenders in Ghana," he says. "I had to create something like this because Africa is finally being recognized in the cocktail world. When I first came to Kumasi, there was no nightlife or bars or hotels. Now, we are getting good cocktails."

Taacoam's custom cocktails (this one with star fruit) incorporate West African ingredients, with a focus on ingredients with healing properties. Taacoam's custom cocktails (this one with star fruit) incorporate West African ingredients, with a focus on produce and herbs with healing properties.

Tetteh says a majority of Ghanians prefer beer when they choose to imbibe, but he hopes to entice them by incorporating local roots and spices into his custom cocktails. "Ghanians are very health-conscious," he notes. Indeed, most of his recipes focus on ingredients that have homeopathic qualities: lemongrass for digestion, ginger for heartburn relief, mahogany bark, and the lesser-known etrapleura tetraptera, a West African plant often used by Ghanians as a spice and dietary supplement.

No matter what he ends up creating, Tetteh always has the same goal in mind: "When I make something, I want it to touch your heart. Not just Western bartenders can do that!"
SPONSORED
From our partners