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Traditional South African Drinks

17 Mar

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Categories: Stellenbosch

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Amarula Cream - a local cream liqueur, generally drunk after dinner. It’s made from the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya Birrea), a favorite of elephants, baboons and monkey who are said to get drunk and party as the rotting fruit foments in the wild

Beer - South African beer is typically American-style. Castle lager is the runaway biggest seller of all, but local brewing giants, South African Breweries also produce Carling Black Label, Grolsch and various other brands.

Mampoer (mum-poo-er)/witblitz (vit-blitts, literally ‘white lightning’) – Powerful homemade brandy/firewater, similar to American moonshine, made from a range of different fruits. Astonishingly, it is usually God-fearing Afrikaans housewives who are responsible for this lethal brew. Tackle it sparingly.

Van der Hum liqueur - this wonderfully aromatic liqueur is a blend of brandy, wine, naartje (mandarin oranges/satsumas) peel and spices. It was distilled here for centuries by housewives before it was bottled officially.


Cooldrink, colddrink - any soda, such as Coca-Cola or Fanta. Soda is reserved purely for club soda. Amongst local specialities, look out for Stoney’s Ginger Beer and Schweppes Granadilla Twist (passion fruit) which are both delicious.

Mageu/mahewu/amarhewu/amahewu - the non-alcoholic version of maheu, this is a thin drinking mealie meal (maize or sorghum) porridge. Traditionally made at home the night before drinking, it is also available commercially these days.

Rock shandy - a local speciality that is a lovely thirst-quenching alternative to overly sweet sodas – half lemonade (eg Sprite), half soda water, with a dash of Angostura bitters (the ‘pink’ in pink gin), a slice of lemon and lots of ice.

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