“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,” says Ernest du Toit, spokesman for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC).
“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.”
Another added benefit, he says, is that rooibos is naturally low in calories and contains no fat or carbohydrates, making it a lighter alternative to normal cocktails, which are often calorie-loaded. It also contains antioxidants, which protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Here are some rooibos cocktails to spruce up your festive season:
Rooibos tea sparkling cocktail
⋇45ml Shochu (a trendy Japanese clear distilled spirit similar to vodka)
⋇30ml Sweet white vermouth
⋇45ml Chilled brewed red rooibos tea
⋇1 lemon twist
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
⋇500ml strong rooibos tea, cooled
⋇500ml peach juice
⋇At least 100ml vodka
⋇1 lemon, thinly sliced
⋇Handful fresh mint leaves
⋇2 peaches, thinly sliced
Combine all the ingredients in a large jug and stir well. Serve over ice.
Iced rooibos tea cocktail
⋇60ml Rooibos Espresso Tea
⋇30ml cherry vodka
⋇15 ml milk
⋇½ cup of ice
In a serving glass add Rooibos Espresso, cherry vodka, and ice. Stir mixture then add milk. Garnish with Cherries
Fire and spice cocktail
⋇3 cups of Rooibos Chai tea
⋇1 cup of cranberry juice
⋇Cranberries and/or thinly sliced lemons for garnish
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)
⋇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
Mix Rooibos, apple, granadilla and strawberry juices and chill. Add chilled sparkling grape juice. Garnish with strawberries, orange and mint.