A rooibos cocktail movement has taken over bars in some of the most popular cocktail capitals of the world. Among others, people in London, New York and Cape Town have been sipping on rooibos cocktails and mixologists predict the drink to be a favourite this festive season.
Read: Stay cool with rooibos
Popular rooibos-inspired cocktails include gin and rooibos, bush tea and tequila and a muddle of berries, as well as vermouth, rooibos and crushed ice.
These cocktails can be a hit in the festive season when people are known to have busy social schedules. And, because the health benefits of rooibos are endless it is a smart alternative to the sugary mixers that cocktails are commonly made of.
Ernest du Toit, spokesperson of the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) 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.
“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,” Du Toit says.
Try any one of these 8 rooibos-inspired cocktails that’s sure to rock your party:
1. Ride the high country cocktail
- 45ml The Black Grouse (or other) Whiskey
- 30ml Rooibos Tea Concentrate
- 150ml Cream Sherry
- Orange Bitters
* Combine all ingredients (except bitters) and shake over ice
* Double strain and garnish with a dash of Orange Bitters
2. Rooibos tea cocktail
- 6 blackberries
- 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
3. 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
4. Iced rooibos tea cocktail
- 60ml Rooibos Espresso Tea
- 30ml cherry vodka
- 15 ml milk
- ½ cup of ice
- Garnish: Cherries
* In a serving glass add Rooibos Espresso, cherry vodka, and ice
* Stir mixture then add milk
* Garnish with Cherries
5. Fire and spice tea cocktail
- 3 cups of Rooibos Chai tea
- 1 cup of cranberry juice
- 120ml vodka
- 30ml Limoncello
- 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)
6. Strawberry punch
- 750ml strong, cold Rooibos
- 1 litre apple juice
- 1 litre granadilla/ passion fruit juice
- 1 litre 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.
7. 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.
8. Rooibos liquor
- 750ml brandy
- 2 cloves
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 750ml strong, hot Rooibos
- 600g white sugar (750ml)
- 25ml honey
* 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 sterilised bottles and seal.
Sources: SA Rooibos Council