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5 easy cocktails every South African should know how to make

A cocktail is basically a mixed drink featuring two or more alcoholic drinks, one of which is usually a distilled drink – vodka, brandy tequila etc.

Cocktails are usually served in any standard bar, and can also be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home provided the ingredients are known.

Make the first offering at your next dinner party hassle-free and utterly palate-thrilling with these easy do-it-yourself South African cocktails.

1. Basilicious

As the name suggests, this refreshingly cool cocktail is made from basil leaves with vodka, lime, and simple syrup (sugar water). A minute pinch of barbecue spice mix adds a subtle, nutty twist.


50 ml vodka
Juice of 1 lime
20 ml simple syrup (sugar water)
4 basil leaves (keep one aside for garnish)
Small pinch of Robertsons Barbecue Spice
Ice cubes


1. Place the simple syrup and 3 basil leaves in a metal shaker.
2. Fill the shaker with ice cubes.
3. Add the vodka and lime juice.
4. Shake and strain contents into a tumbler.
5. Top with a sprinkle of Robertsons barbecue Spice.
6. Garnish with a basil leaf.

2. Cape Snow

Van der Hum is an amber-coloured, tangerine-flavoured liqueur. Blended with a decent glug of brandy and ice cream, this versatile cocktail doubles as a socially acceptable way to drink your dessert.


30 ml brandy
30 ml Van Der Hum Liqueur
2 tablespoons vanilla ice cream
Slice of orange to garnish


1. Flash blend ingredients until drinkably creamy.
2. Pour into a wine glass.
3. Garnish the lip with a slice of orange.

3. Elephant’s Reverie

Made from the fruit of the Marula tree, Amarula Cream has distinctive pepper and caramel flavours with a hint of citrus. When you blend Amarula Cream with Frangelico and cream, it transforms into the ultimate guilty pleasure. It also works as a boozy dessert in a glass.


60 ml Amarula Cream
30 ml Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
15 ml pouring cream
Crushed ice
A pinch of chocolate powder and fresh cherries to garnish


1. Combine the Amarula Cream, Frangelico, pouring cream and ice in metal shaker (shake) or blender (brisk blend).
2. Pour the mix into a highball glass.
3. Garnish with a sprinkle of chocolate powder and fresh cherries

4. The Ama-lekkerlicious

Brandy is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s best-loved spirits. Matched with peach syrup, cranberry juice and bitters, this crisp competition-winning cocktail can shake up any gathering.


25 ml brandy
12.5ml peach syrup
50 ml cranberry juice
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 splashes of bitters
Slice of orange rind to garnish


1. Take a whiskey glass and dip the lip into orange sherbet.
2. Combine brandy, peach syrup, cranberry juice, lemon juice and bitters in a metal shaker.
3. Shake and strain contents into the sherbet-lipped whiskey glass.
4. Garnish the lip with an orange rind twist.

5. The Fynbos

Made from fynbos, rooibos tea, brandy, honey, and ginger liqueur this award winning quintessentially South African cocktail is the perfect aperitif for two on a wintery night.


50 ml brandy
50 ml rooibos tea
25 ml simple syrup (sugar syrup)
12.5 ml ginger liqueur
1 teaspoon honey
A dash of bitters (optional)
Lemon / lime peel to garnish


1. Combine the brandy, rooibos tea, cooled sugar syrup, ginger liqueur, honey and bitters (optional) in a metal shaker.
2. Shake and strain contents into a pre-chilled Martini glass.
3. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime.

Tip: To make simple syrup (sugar water) mix one part boiling water with two parts sugar. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool.

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