Rooibos cocktail craze hits bars

Photo: Stock Image
Photo: Stock Image

A Rooibos cocktail movement has taken over bars across the world’s cocktail capitals of London, New York and Cape Town, and has been dubbed by mixologists as this season’s favourite party mixer.

Popular Rooibos-inspired cocktails on drinks menus include gin and Rooibos, bush tea and tequila and a muddle of berries, vermouth, Rooibos and crushed ice, which makes for the perfect summer cooler.

According to experts, bartenders are moving away from overly complex mixes and are creating interesting flavours with a few key ingredients, such as Rooibos. Big liquor brands have also cottoned on to the trend and have launched various tea-based drinks and variants in recent months.

Ernest du Toit, spokesperson of the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) says given the fresh, full and natural flavour profile of Rooibos, you don’t need a lot of different ingredients to achieve the perfect cocktail indulgence.

Rooibos tea is an easy and effective way to boost any cocktail. A lot of subtleties of Rooibos tea play well off of vodka and specifically gin, since the latter has a lot of the same characteristics as the tea,” he says.

While most cocktails are often packed with just as many calories as a doughnut, Du Toit points out that swapping calorie-rich ingredients for Rooibos – which contains no fat or carbohydrates – offers not only a great slimming alternative, but also contains disease-preventing antioxidants, which protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Try any of these Rooibos-inspired cocktails that’s sure to rock your party:

  • Ride the high country cocktail

Ingredients

  • 45ml The Black Grouse (or other) Whiskey
  • 30ml Rooibos Tea Concentrate
  • 150ml Cream Sherry
  • Orange Bitters

Method

  • Combine all ingredients (except bitters) and shake over ice
  • Double strain and garnish with a dash of Orange Bitters

  • Rooibos tea cocktail

Ingredients

  • 6 blackberries
  • 45ml Shochu (a trendy Japanese clear distilled spirit similar to vodka)
  • 30ml Sweet white vermouth
  • 45ml Chilled brewed red Rooibos tea
  • Ice
  • 1 lemon twist

Method

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle 5 berries with the Shochu, vermouth and tea
  • Add ice and stir
  • Pour through a fine strainer into a chilled coupe
  • Garnish with the remaining berry and the twist

  • Rooibos tea punch

Ingredients

  • 500ml strong Rooibos tea, cooled
  • 500ml peach juice
  • At least 100ml vodka
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • 2 peaches, thinly sliced

Method

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large jug and stir well
  • Serve over ice

  • Iced rooibos tea cocktail

Ingredients

  • 60ml Rooibos Espresso Tea
  • 30ml cherry vodka
  • 15 ml milk
  • ½ cup of ice
  • Garnish: Cherries

Method

  • In a serving glass add Rooibos Espresso, cherry vodka, and ice
  • Stir mixture then add milk
  • Garnish with Cherries

  • Fire and spice tea cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of Rooibos Chai tea
  • 1 cup of cranberry juice
  • 120ml vodka
  • 30ml Limoncello
  • Cranberries and/or thinly sliced lemons for garnish

Method

  • Pour 3 cups boiling water over 2 tbsp. Rooibos Chai tea
  • Steep for 10 minutes, and then strain
  • Refrigerate until cold. (To chill instantly, brew tea in 1 1/2 cups water & strain over 1 1/2 cups ice)
  • Combine chilled tea with 1 cup chilled cranberry juice, 120ml vodka, and 30ml Limoncello
  • Shake over ice. Serve well chilled in martini glasses, champagne flutes, or short tumblers. Garnish with cranberries and/or thinly sliced lemons
  • Makes 4 cups (1 litre)

  • Strawberry punch

Ingredients

  • 750ml strong, cold Rooibos
  • 1litre apple juice
  • 1litre granadilla/ passion fruit juice
  • 1litre strawberry juice
  • 2 bottles (750m leach) of sparkling red grape juice
  • 1 punnet of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves

Method

  • Mix Rooibos, apple, granadilla and strawberry juices and chill.
  • Add chilled sparkling grape juice.
  • Garnish with strawberries, orange and mint.

  • Rooibos tea and gin

Ingredients and method

  • Make a 1/4 cup of Rooibos Tea.
  • Add the Rooibos to 3 litres of your favourite gin.
  • Allow to steep for 3 hours at room temperature.
  • Enjoy and mix with your favourite cocktail.

  • Rooibos liquor

Ingredients

  • 750ml Brandy
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 750ml strong, hot Rooibos
  • 600g white sugar (750ml)
  • 25ml honey

Method

  • Add cloves and cinnamon to the brandy, shake the bottle and allow it to infuse overnight.
  • Heat sugar and Rooibos tea over moderate heat until sugar has dissolved.
  • Boil uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in honey.
  • Remove cloves and cinnamon from the brandy.
  • Add the brandy to the tea syrup and mix well.
  • Pour into sterilized bottles and seal.

For more information about Rooibos and all its uses, visit the website of the SA Rooibos Council at www.sarooibos.org.za.

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