South Africa has a large array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, ranging from indigenous tea to homemade brandy. South African drinks have been influenced by the different cultures that have colonized through the years. Here are the best South African Drinks:
Umqombothi is a Xhosa beer. It is traditional African beer which is made from mashed up maize or sorghum, malt, yeast, and water. It is high in vitamin-B and has a low alcohol content than most commercial beers. This beer is known to have a heavy and distinctly sour aroma and has a thick, creamy and gritty consistency. The beer is opaque and light tan in color. The Umqombothi is used to celebrate the home-coming of young men known as abakwetha in Xhosa culture, after the initiation and religious male circumcision. This beer is usually drunk in a communal setting where the drink is shared between friends and family during customary weddings, funerals, and traditional meetings.
Witblits literally means “White lighting”. The South African drink is also known as firewater because of the strong punch it delivers. It is a clear spirit that has been distilled in South Africa for many years. Witblits is a grape-fermented homemade amateur brandy which is similar to moonshine and was originally made by South African housewives. It’s mostly produced and consumed in the Western Cape and made from a range of different fruits. Witblits is un-aged, meaning no maturation takes place which results in the liquid staying quite clear.
Mampoer is an iconic South African drink which contains anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of alcohol. It is the fruitier alternative to Witblits. Mampoer is often called “Peach brandy” because it is often made with peaches. It is also made using other fruits which include plums, apricots, figs, pomegranates, pineapples, lemons or another citrus, even wild fruits such as the prickly pear, marula, milk-plum, Karee-berry or kei-apple. It is said to be named after the Pedi chief Mampuru and is most commonly consumed in the northern parts of South Africa. Groot Marico is said to be the Mampoer capital of South Africa.
It’s a sweet liqueur made from sugar, cream and the fruit of the African Marula tree. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and protein. It is a favorite among monkeys and elephants who become intoxicated after consuming too much of the over-ripe Marula fruits. This sweet and creamy liqueur is generally drunk after dinner and can be added to anything from Irish coffee, to ice cream. Amarula looks a bit like chocolate milk when poured, and has a 17% alcohol content.
Van der Hum Liqueur
Van der Hum liqueur is an original Cape citrus liqueur which combines spices, herbs, sugar, tangerines, pot still brandy, and diluted wine. This drink was named after its original creator, a Dutchman named Van der Hum. This South African drink is extremely aromatic and has a beautiful blood-orange color. Its syrupy flavor tastes great as a substitute for whiskey in a Manhattan or other old-fashioned cocktail. Van der Hum liqueur is a firm favorite amongst South Africans.
The Springbokkie, which means “little Springbok” in the Afrikaans language, is a cocktail shooter that is popular in South Africa. It is made of creme de menthe and Amarula. The ratio of Amarula to creme de menthe can vary substantially between recipes. Springbokkie is served in bars around the country and is very popular during the sporting season. The drink derives its name from the team jersey colors of the South Africa national rugby union team, which is known as “The Springboks.”
Rooibos is a made in the Cederberg Region of the Western Cape and is shipped and sold internationally under the name of “red tea” and “red bush”. It is only grown in two specific valleys in South Africa – in the Western and Northern Cape. In addition, Rooibos tea has taken the world by storm over the last few years and is now available almost anywhere. The slightly reddish tea is packed full of antioxidants and is often added to other teas to enhance their flavors, such as other fully South African favorites like honeybush, hoodia, and buchu.