Katumba is paid by passion as a mixologist

At just 30, Jacob Katumba has become a household name in Kampala and its environs when it comes to mixing cocktails but his story is one of humble beginnings.

Born in western Uganda, he lost both of his parents at the age of six but was able to study up to senior six where he  dropped out due to lack of school fees.

“I then moved to Kampala in search for job opportunities,” Katumba narrates his story.

“With a background which includes coming from a large and diverse family growing up, I developed strong thinking of how to be a better person.”

He says he started out as a waiter in a bar and this is how he fell in love with mixing cocktails.

“I fell in love with coffee first then eventually mocktails and it’s here that I learnt how to make the best crafted cocktails,” he says.

Getting skilled

Katumba says through the Master bar academy program by Uganda Breweries Limited, for three years he learnt how to make cocktails and mocktails.

 “This helped me to polish my knowledge about the experience I had from the bar,” he says.

Love for his job

Katumba admits his love for bartending has taken him places.

“I am interested in bartending because I enjoy seeing people have a good time and contributing to their experience by helping them. Bartending is really social, so I meet many kinds of customers which is really interesting because I learn a lot about people. I also really enjoy making drinks which I find creative and artistic.”

He has since created his own label, named the Thirsty Bar Man that has seen him move places but also meet all sorts of people.

“Thirsty Bar Man works on birthday parties, baby showers, corporate events, brand launches, introduction parties, to mention but a few. If you feel like having happiness, contact the Thirsty Bar Man,” he says.

He is also the main organizer of the event: ‘The Cocktails Experience’ and so far three successful ones have been held with the fourth season coming up.

He says he is also hired to mix cocktails at events and has previously worked at the Blankets and Wines, Roast and Rhyme, Floral and Cocktails, Jamfest, Nyege Nyege.

He has worked with big brands such as NBS Katchup, Centenary Bank and Stanbic bank.

He says he gets clients through the social capital he has created throughout the years in the business.

He also gets his clients through referrals and social media platforms.

“I market myself on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat,” he says.

Unique mixologist

The 30 year old says he has differentiated himself as a unique mixologist.

“I pride myself on my creativity, being able to easily think of unique recipes, and my enthusiasm for the craft of mixology. I am always learning new techniques, as well as studying different flavors and liquors so that I can stay up to date with the latest mixology trends. That’s why I move from bar to bar looking for new ideas,” Katumba says.

Paid by passion

Katumba says he is paid by his creative passion.

“I would say proud is an understatement. I am passionate about this job,” he says.

He says throughout the years he taught waiters and waitresses how to make cocktails.

“I have created a bond with some big establishments. I have helped family members. It’s just a lot I have got from this amazing job.”


Just like any job, Katumba says his is not without challenges.

“Most challenging are the clients who don’t know about these drinks but they want them cheaply. Sometimes you work and don’t get paid. There are also losses from events, to mention but a few,” he says.

Bright future

Katumba says he hopes to fully open up an academy since he currently teaches waiters and waitresses from home and in the field.

He advises youths to be passionate about what they do, be humble and to be good listeners.

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