Wait, Who Invented Chapman?

September 7, 2022

I resumed work yesterday after shaking my ass on a yacht a two-week holiday in Dubai. And the first thing that came to me was… chapman. Maybe I’m not ready to return to work. 

But as life will have it, it turns out, there’s actually a fascinating history around chapman. I’m about to give y’all a history lesson no one asked for. 

I used to think chapman was one of those drinks created abroad that Nigerians started making here. It turns out, chapman was actually created in Nigeria by a Nigerian. 

It’s been up for debate about who invented this mocktail. Legend has it that chapman was created at the Ikoyi Club in Lagos, Nigeria, by a bartender who was requested to mix something special for a British client named Chapman. After doing serious research, it turns out this is false.

Who actually invented chapman? 

The Ikoyi Club was not where chapman was created, nor was it created for a Mr Chapman. It was invented by Mr Sam Alamutu, a renowned professional hotelier who, at one point, was referred to as the doyen of Nigeria’s hospitality sector.

Sam Alamutu was a well-known professional Hotelier. He was among the few young Nigerians to be offered a scholarship to study in the UK, where he studied catering and hotel management at the Huddersfield Polytechnic, Yorkshire, from 1955 to 1958.

He later became the director of the Nigeria Tourist Board and the first national President of the Nigeria Hotel and Catering Institute. 

He spent most of his time in top Nigerian hotels and was the director of a few of them: The Lagos Hotel, Hill Station Hotel, Jos, Western Hotel and Cross River Hotel Limited.

Image source: Kiki Foodies

How did Chapman come about? 

The creation of chapman is a story of love. Mr Alamutu was a man who loved to attend social events, where he’d drink the finest of wines or champagne. He’d usually attend these events with his wife who didn’t drink alcohol. It bothered him because he thought the love of his life deserved better than soft drinks, so he decided to create something more exotic that she could drink at events, especially those hosted by him. He experimented with different beverages and eventually came up with a mix of lemon and orange with a dash of Angostura bitters. She loved it. 

ALSO READ: We Ranked Local Nigerian Drinks

With the positive feedback he had received, he went one step further and added cucumber, a lemon slice, and a cherry on a toothpick; this is how the renowned cocktail came to be.

The reason it’s associated with Ikoyi, it’s because one of the first places Mr Alamutu created the mocktail for public consumption was at the Ikoy Hotel, Lagos. Due to his influence in the hospitality industry, he was able to take the drink across different hotels in Nigeria. Because of its unique taste, more bars and hotels continued to adapt the recipe, and now chapman has become one of the most popular drinks this side of the world. 

Give Mr Alamutu his flowers.


ALSO READ: 7 Delightful Nigerian Drinks That Will Make You Thirsty

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