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Rooibos, which is pronounced ‘roy-bos’, is a caffeine-free herbal tea originating from the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is commonly known to those outside of South Africa as “Red Bush Tea”, not just due to its English translation but because of its deep amber hue when brewed. Thus, Rooibos Inspired Cocktails were born.
Although the British are quite familiar with this tea, it has been a relatively unknown beverage by the rest of the world until recently, piquing the interest of foodies and health enthusiasts across the globe as a preferred rich-tasting alternative to caffeinated green and black tea.
The Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea has even been mentioned by the Time Magazine as one of the 50 healthiest foods to consume and here’s why:
It is packed with antioxidants which fight against chronic and degenerative diseases
It is rich in minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc and magnesium. These are all necessary to maintain strong teeth, hair and skin
It contains alpha hydroxyl acid which assists with reducing the onset of wrinkles
It is full of electrolytes which is great for rehydration and the regulation of blood pressure
It is also anti-inflammatory which is soothing on the gut
It is totally caffeine-free which makes it a great soothing drink to have before bedtime
The Trending Combination of Rooibos and Alcohol
Many South Africans drink the tea with a dash of milk and honey at breakfast, morning and afternoon tea times, as well as in the evenings to assist with sleep. However, a recent trend now involves adding alcohol to the mix and the results are both intriguing and delicious!
Rooibos Inspired Cocktails
Here are 6 rooibos tea inspired alcoholic drinks for those who dare to try something new. You won’t be disappointed!
Overlooking the stunning blue waters of Bantry Bay in Cape Town, South Africa, is the opulent Ellerman House. This private boutique hotel on the Atlantic Seaboard has been identified for its unique take on combining rooibos with brandy and ginger to make a stunning cocktail.
You can get the full recipe for this refreshing cocktail over at Drizzle and Dip where Sam Linsell, a South African recipe developer and food photographer, includes the rooibos cocktail as part of her menu shoot for the Hotel.
Life can’t get any peachier after enjoying these two flavor combinations as a punch! This recipe is super easy and quick to make with zero fuss by just combining all ingredients into a large jug and serve over ice.
It makes for a great looking summer cocktail for group gatherings with vodka and some fresh mint added to the mix. Download the full recipe here.
This spicy-sweet cinnamon rooibos chai cocktail is the perfect drink to impress your guests this Fall. Adding a bit of rum and cream liqueur gives this warm beverage full body and a creamy texture.
This recipe uses Amarula cream liqueur which comes from the indigenous Marula fruit of sub-Equatorial Africa, the only place in the world where this fruit grows. Interestingly, the conditions of fermentation of the Marula fruit is very similar to winemaking and after fermentation, the Marula wine is distilled in copper stills.
Of course, you don’t have to use Amarula cream liqueur to still enjoy this recipe. You could easily swap it out for another creamy liqueur. However, if you are interested in trying this delicious drink with mostly African-inspired ingredients, then you can easily purchase your bottle of Amarula cream online.
If you are looking for a sophisticated wine cocktail with a twist then this drink is definitely a must-try.
It involves a little preparatory work of infusing vodka with rooibos tea sticks overnight before adding the remaining ingredients, including cinnamon sugar, to a 125ml wine glass of Chardonnay of your choice.
The rooibos tea sticks will prevent any of the loose rooibos leaves mixing into your vodka which is likely to happen when using ordinary bags as they may disintegrate. Here are some rooibos tea sticks from Java Sticks that are Eco-friendly and recyclable.
Rooibos and honey with a shot of your favorite tequila and dehydrated lemon as garnishing and you’ve suddenly got yourself a very elegant and refreshing cocktail.
This recipe stays true to local South African ingredients by using fynbos honey produced from bees collecting pollen from local fynbos vegetation specific to the southern tip of Africa. Similarly, Rooibos is a part of the fynbos family, making this a truly South African cocktail.
If you can’t source any fynbos honey, any good quality honey will do just fine as a substitube.
Here is an interesting take on the classic Martinez cocktail which is rumored to have been the inspiration for today’s popular Martini. The recipe, which was developed with the help of a mixologist, calls for red wine (used for a spicy-sweet syrup) and rooibos as the main distinguishing ingredients.
It’s a beautiful looking cocktail keeping to the red hue of our rooibos-inspired drinks!
If you are interested in learning more about rooibos then be sure to have a look at the South African Rooibos Council’s website. They offer an abundance of information, including additional recipes (both drinks and food), nutritional facts as well as information on how to incorporate rooibos into your daily health and beauty regimes.
By now you should be excited to try out some of these delicious rooibos-inspired cocktails but if you are unsure of where to source rooibos tea, have a look at this brand here that sells USDA certified organic rooibos tea.
These tea bags are biodegradable which means that you can save those that you’ve used by placing it into your compost to feed your plants and stave off weeds.
This herbal tea has a smooth unobtrusive taste which makes it easier for those unfamiliar with it to give it a try, and what better way than by adding it to one of your favorite cocktails!
Anne has been studying wine for years - it's a tough gig! She holds her WSET2 and FWP designations, with plans for more. You can most often find her sipping on some sparkling wine - her favs are MCC, cremant and cava, plus of course champagne.
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