Chapman: The Nigerian Alcohol-Free Cocktail That Defines Refreshment

According to Escape Mocktails, it is likely that mocktails were created as an alternative to their alcoholic equivalents at the same time that their alcoholic equivalents were first made. But with the rise of social drinking and innovation of fancy cocktails in more recent decades, mocktails too have grown significantly popular.

You've likely heard of the Shirley Temple — the classic mocktail, not the actress. Back in the 1930s, according to Hollywood legend, a young Shirley Temple was dining at the Chasen's restaurant and desired a cocktail that was legal for her to drink, per Thrillist. Thus the Shirley Temple was born, a tasty combination of lemon-lime soda with a splash of Grenadine and topped with a maraschino cherry.

Other examples of mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks you may be familiar with include sparkling ciders, similar to champagne, or virgin alternatives to mojitos, piña coladas, and even daiquiris. But a mocktail you may not be as familiar with is the Chapman.

The history of the Chapman

The Chapman is a Nigerian beverage, and unfortunately, its true origins have often been misidentified, according to Roads and Kingdoms. The most common origin story of the Chapman claims that it was created at the Ikoyi Club in Lagos, Nigeria by one of the club's bartenders at the request of a British customer known as "Chapman."

But Business Day refutes this claim, saying the beverage was created by a man named Sam Alamutu as a kind gesture towards his wife. When Alamutu would go out with his wife, he noticed she had the tendency to refuse alcoholic beverages, whether for personal reasons or a distaste for it, and would typically drink sodas instead. Alamutu set out to concoct a more exciting beverage for his wife with all of the exotic flavors of a tropical alcoholic beverage, just without the alcohol. 

Both sources agree, however, that the Chapman was first served at the Ikoyi Club.

How to concoct a Chapman

The Chapman provides a unique combination of fruity, tropical flavors mixed with the satisfying carbonation of soda. Per All Nigerian Recipes, to make a Chapman you will need Grenadine syrup, which provides the signature red color, Fanta Orange soda, Sprite, blackcurrant, orange, lemon, and ice cubes. If you want the mocktail version of the Chapman, you'd stop here. If you want an extra layer of flavor and don't mind the drink not being a mocktail, you can include Angostura bitters.

Yummy Medley puts an additional spin on the Chapman, encouraging readers to mix grapefruit and cucumbers into the fruit mix — and they don't stop there. They also offer an option of adding lemonade and limeade into their rendition on the drink.

Whether you prefer your Chapman with or without alcohol, there are certainly a number of ways to make this drink your own.