Shake things up with tea cocktails this summer

I recently received a mail that started: “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.”
Being fond of this indigenous tea, as well as cocktails, I read on.

“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.”

What better way to enjoy the summer? Get your brew on with these recipes.

Rooibos tea punchROOIBOS TEA PUNCH
500 ml strong Rooibos tea, cooled
500 ml peach juice
At least 100 ml 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

750 ml strong, cold Rooibos
1 litre apple juice
1 litre granadilla/ passion fruit juice
1 litre strawberry juice
2 bottles (750 ml each) 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.

Iced Rooibos tea cocktailICED ROOIBOS TEA COCKTAIL
60 ml Rooibos Espresso Tea
30 ml 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

750 ml Brandy
2 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
750 ml strong, hot Rooibos
600 g white sugar (750 ml)
25 ml 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 sterilized bottles and seal.

And if Rooibos isn’t your thing but you’d still like to celebrate International Tea Day, start your own tea tincture for deliciously unusual  tea cocktails (in about two to three months). Then mix up a classic: an Old Fashioned.

Gordon Graham's Old Fashioned HRGordon Graham’s Old Fashioned
Glass: Old fashioned / lowball / rocks
Garnish: Orange twist

50 ml Black Bottle Whisky
12.5 ml sugar syrup
4 to 5 dashes / drops of Black Bottle tea tincture OR Angostura Bitters

Tea tincture
For those brave and bold enough to try making their own Black Bottle tea tincture, follow these instructions (or use Angostura Bitters as alternative):
Steep the same quantity (e.g. 100g) of each of the four teas; including Ceylon, Darjeeling, Jasmine and Lapsang Souchong; in unaged grain alcohol in a sealable container. Close the container and leave the mixture for around 8 to 10 weeks, monitoring and tasting it once a week up until the last few weeks, from when it needs to be tasted once a day for flavour profile and balance. Once the desired result is achieved, fine strain the mixture before finer muslin straining. Dispense into pipette bottles and use as required.

To assemble the Gordon Graham’s Old Fashioned
Add all the ingredients to a mixing receptacle and stir well. Strain into the selected glass over a few blocks of ice, and garnish with orange zest.



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