Rooibos cocktail craze hits bars across Europe and USA

Source : The South African

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 across Europe and the United States 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:

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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)

6. 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.

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

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

Top photo by Flickr.com/PersonalCreation