This week, we chat with lawyer turned mixologist and entrepreneur, Amaka Mbagwu, the CEO and Head Mixologist at Barcode Cocktails & More.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your position, and background.
My name is Amaka Mbagwu, I’m a wife, mom, a lawyer, and a certified mixologist.

How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been in the cocktail business since 2016.

The keynote speaker at the Conference made mention of the fact that the industry has a low-entry requirement; and yet you trained in the UK; why did you bother to go all the way?
I went all the way to the UK to train because I didn’t want to just be “any mixologist”. Anything I do, I try to do it well and do it MY way.

From your exposure to the international scene, how are things different over here in Nigeria?
Well as Nigerians we definitely have our own palate. I trained in the UK but I also knew that Its imperative that I mix cocktails in the balance and texture that will be received by most.

What are those opportunities you think have not been explored or maximised by the Nigerian cocktail industry?
I would say production. Many of us would love to have our mixes in the market so that we can reach beyond our territories.

Is the industry crowded? Is there room for more people to get into and succeed in the business?
Maybe in Lagos but if you’re talking Nationwide, the industry is not crowded at all.

What advice would you give someone who desires to start their cocktail business?
My advice would be to do your research first, go for a training, practice a lot, find your niche and capitalise on it. Let the real you show through your work.

Your favourite cocktail to make
My favourite cocktail to make would be one of our signature cocktails called The Vodka Passion.

The cocktail you don’t like to make and why
My least favourite would be a Bloody Mary, because it’s one classic cocktail I do not like at all.

If you weren’t in the cocktail business, what else would you have been doing?
If I wasn’t in the cocktail business, I would be in the courtroom.