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 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:
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY COCKTAIL
· 45ml The Black Grouse (or other) Whiskey
· 30ml Rooibos Tea Concentrate
· 150ml Cream Sherry
· Orange Bitters
· Combine all ingredients (except bitters) and shake over ice
· Double strain and garnish with a dash of Orange Bitters
ROOIBOS TEA COCKTAIL
· 6 blackberries
· 45ml Shochu (a trendy Japanese clear distilled spirit similar to vodka)
· 30ml Sweet white vermouth
· 45ml Chilled brewed red Rooibos tea
· 1 lemon twist
· 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
ROOIBOS TEA PUNCH
· 500ml strong Rooibos tea, cooled
· 500ml peach juice
· At least 100ml 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
ICED ROOIBOS TEA COCKTAIL
· 60ml Rooibos Espresso Tea
· 30ml 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
FIRE AND SPICE TEA COCKTAIL
· 3 cups of Rooibos Chai tea
· 1 cup of cranberry juice
· 120ml vodka
· 30ml Limoncello
· Cranberries and/or thinly sliced lemons for garnish
· 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)
· 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
· Mix Rooibos, apple, granadilla and strawberry juices and chill.
· Add chilled sparkling grape juice.
· Garnish with strawberries, orange and mint.
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.
· 750ml Brandy
· 2 cloves
· 2 sticks of cinnamon
· 750ml strong, hot Rooibos
· 600g white sugar (750ml)
· 25ml 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.
Already considered one of the most powerful superfoods on the market today, Rooibos tea’s antioxidant army also packs a protective punch against heart disease, research shows.
Local and international studies are repeatedly reinforcing this discovery, with the latest study, conducted by Spanish researchers, showing that drinking Rooibos can prevent the development of heart disease by inhibiting the liver from storing excessive fat under the skin and around major organs. These researchers also determined that Rooibos not only reduces the number and size of fat cells, but also completely prevents the development of fatty liver disease – a condition where fat accumulates in the cells of the liver.
The study also confirmed that the complex mix of antioxidants in Rooibos are jointly responsible for its beneficial effects, and that it is therefore better to drink Rooibos tea, rather than isolated compounds from Rooibos.
These findings add further weight to an earlier South African study led by Professor Jeanine Marnewick, a specialist researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), who was able to show a positive effect in adults at risk of heart disease, who drank six cups of Rooibos every day for six weeks.
Her study showed that Rooibos not only protected against oxidative lipid damage, but also favourably improved the lipid profile of the participants by reducing total blood cholesterol levels by 10%, with a significant reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
A third study conducted in Sweden found that 30 to 60 minutes after drinking 400 ml of Rooibos, the activity of a specific enzyme (called angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ace) is significantly suppressed. This enzyme is believed to be involved in the development of cardiovascular disease, and therefore ace inhibitors are used to treat hypertension and heart disease.
The main heart-health promoting substance in Rooibos tea is the antioxidant Chrysoeriol. It helps to prevent and treat vascular disease by inhibiting the migration of smooth muscle cells inside the aorta, a key cause of the narrowing or hardening of the arteries that may lead to a heart attack. Chrysoeriol is also an effective bronchodilator, and helps to lower blood pressure and relieve spasms.
Ernest du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) says it is very encouraging that leading research institutions around the world are working on Rooibos and are repeatedly producing such promising results.
“With more South Africans dying from heart disease and stroke than ever before, these studies underline the value of Rooibos as a widely available, affordable and uniquely South African product rich in dietary antioxidants, which promotes heart-health.
“Rooibos, in combination with an overall healthy diet with whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods, could significantly reduce the risk of heart disease,” says du Toit.
The South African Rooibos Council invests significantly into the research of Rooibos’ health properties. This year the Council is supporting research projects at several local universities focusing on the anti-aging potential of Rooibos as well as its effect on immunity.
Summaries of the most recent rooibos studies published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals can be found on the website of the SA Rooibos Council at www.sarooibos.org.za
Issued by Meropa Communications on behalf of the South African Rooibos Council. For more information contact Brigitte Taim on 021 683 6464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editor:
Shocking stats paint stark reality of heart disease in SA:
· Approximately 6.3 million South Africans are living with high blood pressure
· Premature deaths due to heart and blood vessel diseases in people of working age (35 – 64 years) are expected to increase by 41% between now and 2030
· Statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in SA, which means that 10 people will suffer a stroke and five will have a heart attack every hour
One of the best-kept weight-loss secrets could already be in your pantry. Celebs swear by it, and research confirms that Rooibos tea is the ideal way to help you slim down this summer.
By swapping just one cup of coffee for Rooibos tea every day, you could lose as much as a kilo every month. Most of us load our coffee with sugary syrups, honey, whipped cream or milk and sugar which can add anything from 35 to 250+ calories per cup. And if one considers that the average South African knocks back about four cups of coffee a day, drinking Rooibos instead could lead to a whopping 7 – 14kg shed in a year.
Ernest du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council, says the indigenous tea offers dieters a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable way to lose weight.
“Rooibos tea contains no fat or carbohydrates and its weight-loss properties further extends to inhibiting fat-storage hormones within the body. Rooibos’s unique Bioflavonoid, Aspalathin, helps to reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage, typically associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. In a nutshell, Rooibos tea can prevent the body from storing and even forming new fat cells.
“Rooibos tea is also caffeine-free and naturally sweet so there’s no need to add extra sugar. Plus it comes in a variety of flavours like berry, cinnamon, mint and citrus. It’s also 100% natural with no additives, no preservatives and no chemicals,” he says.
“Drinking Rooibos tea instead of a regular 35+ calorie cup of coffee (enjoyed with milk and a spoonful of sugar) or a 100+ calorie carbonated drink will automatically reduce your calorie intake, which should put you well on your way to losing centimetres.”
A-list celebrities sporting already svelte figures such as Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta Jones and supermodel Cindy Crawford all swear by Rooibos’s health benefits.
Drinking up to six cups a day – hot or cold – along with a healthy and balanced diet, will provide you with the maximum health and weight-loss benefits that Rooibos tea can offer.