Recipe: Fynbos, from Around the World in 80 Cocktails »

Enjoy a genuine taste of South Africa

Contributed articles and stories
Subscribe to
Fynbos from <i>Around the World in 80 Cocktails</i>

Fynbos from Around the World in 80 Cocktails

<i>Around the World in 80 Cocktails</i> by Chad Parkhill
<i>Around the World in 80 Cocktails</i> Author Chad Parkhill


Pack your shakers, muddlers and vintage luggage, we're off Around the World in 80 Cocktails. This colourful book takes you across the globe, drink by drink and story by story. This recipe is from Cape Town in South Africa and is a truly place-specific tipple.

Africa’s southern tip is home to the Cape Floristic Region, one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots. This region is dominated by abundant fynbos (literally ‘fine bush'), a generic term for small scrubby plants and bushes native to South Africa.

The most well-known of these species is one that you may have consumed: Aspalathus linearis, the plant from which rooibos tea is derived.

When Dutch colonists founded Cape Town in 1652, they discovered not only the Cape Floristic Region, but also wild ‘grapes’ (technically Rhoicissus tomentosa, a close relative), which showed that the land would be suitable for viticulture. By 1659 European Vitis vinifera cuttings were flourishing in the Western Cape, and the first South African wine was successfully produced.

French Huguenots, driven out of France in 1685, brought with them viticultural knowledge and winemaking experience, while slaves from Java, Madagascar and Mozambique tended and harvested the vines.

The racism that powered the nascent South African wine industry in the 17th century would be its undoing in the 20th century. International trade sanctions against South Africa, designed to break the apartheid system, coupled with overproduction thanks to high-yielding grape varieties planted in the wake of phylloxera meant that South Africa suffered from a glut of grapes and not much demand for wine.

In response, the powerful industry body Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging (KWV) directed large quantities of these excess grapes to be distilled into inexpensive brandy.

South Africa’s brandy industry was revived after apartheid and is now producing world class stuff.

This cocktail, adapted from the original invented by Johannesburg bartender Eugene Thompson, combines brandy with native rooibos tea to create a truly place-specific tipple.


  • 60 ml brandy (preferably South African)
  • 30 ml rooibos-honey syrup(see tip)
  • 15 ml ginger liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters


  • Build ingredients in a mixing glass.
  • Add ice and stir until chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Bartender’s tip:

To make rooibos-honey syrup, mix two parts strong, freshly brewed rooibos tea with one part honey and stir until honey is dissolved. Decant into a sterilised bottle. Store in the refrigerator.


This extract and recipe is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher, Explore Australia/Hardie Grant.

Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill is published by Explore Australia/Hardie Grant (Melb,Vic; August 2017; Hb; 192pp) and retails for A$29.99 in good bookshops. Available from 1 August 2017.

Read more about Around the World in 80 Cocktails here »

See links below for other recipes and articles.

Our Recommendations

To see our recommendations, ratings and reviews you must be a logged-in subscriber.

To subscribe please enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now - it's Free" box on the right and click the "Join" button, or fill in this form >

August 09th, 2017
Subscribe today - it's free
Subscribe Button

Subscribe now - for news and reviews, our newsletter (optional), to join our forums, and more.

Enter your email address and click the Subscribe button. We respect your privacy.

Log in

Enter your username...

Enter your password...

Log In Button

Forgotten your password?


Kerry's corner - your free benefits