Friday, January 28, 2011

Stoney Tangawizi – a love story

I will start out by saying that I’m completely biased, and that this entire post will be dedicated to the best sugary carbonated ginger beverage I have ever had in my life.

Sometimes things seem more amazing because of the experiences tied up with them. The joy of being a carefree kid can be associated with eating bowls of kraft macaroni and cheese, or thoughts of going to the state fair in the warm August air can bring to mind cheese churds and all manner of greasy delights. Then you go and revisit those foods, and realize that….they are… not that good actually.

Not so with Stoney Tangawizi.

In January of 2009 I traveled to Nairobi Kenya, and that’s where this love story began. A few days into the trip I went to dinner at a Wycliffe Associates missionary’s house, where I first was offered a bottle of Stoney. He actually offered the pop, and took a sip of his own, only to erupt into coughs brought on by said beverage. Seeing that I was a little skeptical, he insisted I must try it and exclaimed that it was “REALLY GOOD!”

That was the beginning of my love for Stoney Tangawizi (Also called Stoney Ginger Beer, and Stoney for short). The first sip hit that back of my throat like a little gingery fireball, and it took me about 3 gulps to realize that it was the best pop in the entire world. From then on during the trip, I drank Stoney every chance I got, every restaurant I would have the brown glass bottle proudly towering over my meal.

The majestic bottle
Drinking a Stoney is a unique experience and one that every person should experience in their lifetime, preferably as one is sitting in an outdoor restaurant in the city of Nairobi in the great country of Kenya, or outside the doors of a Nakumatt.

My last taste of Stoney from a glass bottle was in the Nairobi airport, I was slowly sipping the divine ginger liquid to make it last as long as possible. My flight started boarding and the bottle was still mostly full, in order to not waste a precious drop I chugged the rest of the bottle. So with a burning in my throat, tears in my eyes, and a runny nose I left the land of Stoney Tangawizi.

Since that time in Kenya, I have pined for the tasty liquid, and have only been able to see pictures of it. Last semester after many hours of sleuthing I found a place to buy the pop online from a small store in Canada which imports from South Africa. After a few seconds of deliberation I ordered the pack of 6 cans. (do not ask me how much I paid for them, love does not have a price tag)

After a few months I once again had a Stoney in my hand, only this time in an aluminium can. The precious cans have been opened on special occasions, and I once again have been able to enjoy the burning delight of Stoney Tangawizi. One day I hope to return to Eastern Africa, and I will drink all the Stoney to my heart's content. For now I will enjoy telling people how wonderful this beverage is, and try to decide when to open the last remaining can. Now you, my dear reader can dream of one day enjoying the divine taste of Stoney, a pop which no other sugary carbonated beverage can compare to.

Stoney and Banana Bread
At a restaurant in Nairobi
You cannot help but smile with a Stoney in your hand


  1. That's so true, that drink is simply the best, -I don't blame you in the least bit.
    Only surprised that there is no Stoney in Canada.

  2. I was in Uganda in March and had a similar reckoning with Stoney. Just started researching how to get it state side. Now I read that the one from South Africa (usually labeled Stoney ginger beer and not Stoney Tangawizi) is sweeter and not as intense as the one in Eastern Africa. any truth since it sounds like you have had both?

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  4. Stoney Tangawizi, or simply Tangawizi as my friends and I liked to call it when we were in Kenya, truly is an incredible experience. It stands as the unrivaled king in my ventures into the realm of carbonated beverages--"simply the best" as Andrew so aptly puts it. Reading this, I was almost able to once again taste the sparkly bite that I have come to love so much. Thank you for the post.

  5. Had some in Uganda, my favorite soda ever!!! Indeed a little love affair! Wish I could find some here in the US...

  6. My friend and I went to Tanzania this summer and we were so obsessed we brought it back in our suitcases. It was over 1/5 of our allowed weight...