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tanstaafl2

South African spirits?

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Have a friend traveling in South Africa who has offered to bring back any thing I might be interested. They have already located Rose's Kola Tonic for me. Seems to be hard to find in the US so I figured what the heck, get it while I can in case I decide to make a Filmograph cocktail from Doc Cocktail's book or something else equally odd!

But any other spirits (or perhaps mixers) that might be found in South Africa that would be harder to come by in the states that any one would suggest looking for?


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Van Der Hum is the only thing I know about that you might be interested in. It is a tangerine-based liqueur with a brandy base. I have a bottle and pretty much never use it, though tasted solo I found it to be pleasant enough. I don't drink liqueur solo though (unless it's Green Chartreuse over crushed ice in a lime shell...). I'm also unsure of the availability in the US so it may or may not be a rare thing you'd want to travel with.

Edited to add: I'd wager there's some interesting brandy made there. Why not hit a bar and see what you like?


Edited by Alcuin (log)

nunc est bibendum...

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There are South African blue agave spirits (that can't be called tequila).

Though I can't comment on the overall quality of the genre, I've had a decent unaged expression in the past.

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Amarula Creme Liqueur. Stuff is hard to describe but delicious. I like it in coffee, and I'm sure it could stand in for Bailey's Irish Cream in many applications. Less booze forward than the Bailey's, and a bit fruitier. I'm kind of at a loss for words to describe it, but if you enjoy Bailey's I'm certain you'd love it.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I will pass these suggestions along to my friend. I am not there myself on this trip so it makes it a bit more difficult. Normally I would do just as was suggested and try to inquire of local bartenders about what might be good options but my friends is not much into the bar scene.

I like Amarula and have some already. But it has generally been readily available here at home so was trying to find things I can't find here. I have read about something called Wild African Cream I think but don't know much about it. Never seen it locally.

I also have enjoyed Savana cider on past trips and it is not readily available here but managed to get a supply of that on a past trip.

Thanks for the suggestions!


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Starr Rum from Mauritius is unique and worth seeking out if you are a rum person. It is available online through drinkupny though, so it is difficult but not entirely impossible to get in the US. There is a sole Florida distributor who apparently just brings in enough for Disney's Animal Kingdom. I have tried in vain for years to get it stocked at my local sprits shops and nobody has been able to break the stranglehold of The Mouse.

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Interesting suggestion. I will look into it although if Drinkupny has it then I at least have a viable option. I have ordered a few hard to find things from them in the past.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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There are South African blue agave spirits (that can't be called tequila).

Though I can't comment on the overall quality of the genre, I've had a decent unaged expression in the past.

Not sure when this was written but it sounds like the South African efforts to produce an agave spirit did not succeed and at least this particular brand is no more.

Agava

There is some suggestion that another company is considering or trying to make use of what is apparently a plentiful supply of South African blue agave but haven't found anything definitive yet.

I certainly enjoy a nice tequila and it might have been interesting to compare a South African product. But not to be it appears, at least for now.


Edited by tanstaafl2 (log)

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Ah, that's too bad. That was indeed the one I tried, courtesy of the LCBO.

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Well, the booze "mule" has returned from S. Africa! I had mentioned Glayva and a couple of other things hard to find (for me anyway) in the US on a lark before they left, not really expecting them to find it. And a liter bottle to boot! I hope it is worth it.

Also got the Kola tonic. At least I assume it is the same thing. It is labeled as Roses's Kola Tonic Flavored Cordial and has a brown label whereas pictures I had seen on the web had a red label and only said Kola Tonic. Might be a location issue. In any case it is what I have!

They also found a bottle of "Wild Africa Cream Liqueur". Delightfully tacky with a faux leopard print cover! Most likely for the tourist trade. Don't know much about it but will add it to my growing collection of cream liqueurs which is now up to about 7 or 8 and includes Baileys, Drumgray, Amarula, Kahlua Royal Cream, Castries, 1921 Tequila Cream and possibly something else that I can't remember along with the newest addition.

Dessert is covered for awhile...

Photo2.jpg

Kind of a lousy cellphone picture!


Edited by tanstaafl2 (log)

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Van Der Hum is the only thing I know about that you might be interested in. It is a tangerine-based liqueur with a brandy base. I have a bottle and pretty much never use it, though tasted solo I found it to be pleasant enough. I don't drink liqueur solo though (unless it's Green Chartreuse over crushed ice in a lime shell...). I'm also unsure of the availability in the US so it may or may not be a rare thing you'd want to travel with.

We have a bottle that we found in Massachusetts ($20 at Julio's in Westborough). Between the peel and the spices, it is different from triple secs and curacaos. As for uses, there are a bunch in European cocktail books from the 1920s and 30s such as the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book (some of those recipes were entered into CocktailDB.com), UKBG's Approved Cocktails, etc. And even some newer recipes such as the Comet in David Wondrich's Killer Cocktails. VdH is also essential for the lady series -- it's in the Brown Lady (I also discovered both a Blue and a Green Lady, but I might pass on those except for a Martian or Smurf theme party).

One that I'm curious about is Caperitif -- an aromatized wine frequently mentioned in the Savoy Cocktail Book.

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Van Der Hum is the only thing I know about that you might be interested in. It is a tangerine-based liqueur with a brandy base. I have a bottle and pretty much never use it, though tasted solo I found it to be pleasant enough. I don't drink liqueur solo though (unless it's Green Chartreuse over crushed ice in a lime shell...). I'm also unsure of the availability in the US so it may or may not be a rare thing you'd want to travel with.

We have a bottle that we found in Massachusetts ($20 at Julio's in Westborough). Between the peel and the spices, it is different from triple secs and curacaos. As for uses, there are a bunch in European cocktail books from the 1920s and 30s such as the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book (some of those recipes were entered into CocktailDB.com), UKBG's Approved Cocktails, etc. And even some newer recipes such as the Comet in David Wondrich's Killer Cocktails. VdH is also essential for the lady series -- it's in the Brown Lady (I also discovered both a Blue and a Green Lady, but I might pass on those except for a Martian or Smurf theme party).

One that I'm curious about is Caperitif -- an aromatized wine frequently mentioned in the Savoy Cocktail Book.

CocktailDB says that the manufacturer of Caperitif is now defunct (don't know for how long) so you would probably have to get lucky to find a remaining bottle. If Lillet is an alternative then I presume Cocchi would be as well, especially since Cocchi is touted as a closer approximation of the original formula of Kina Lillet.

I had passed the word about VdH to my friend when they were in Jo'berg but by that point they didn't have time to look and it wasn't readily available at the airport duty free. Next time perhaps. There does appear to be a NY based importer but I didn't investigate further.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Erik Ellestad subs Caperitif with "1 tsp Amaro Montenegro, 1 oz Dolin Blanc" (1 part:6 parts) so by that estimation, it is more robust than Cocchi/Lillet, although Erik admits it is only a guess. Erik uses that amaro to up the quinine level.

I think I have built the product up too much in my head. Sort of like how I got a taste of Byrrh at Tales of the Cocktail (the day before it started) in 2010 and though "Oh, that's nice, but it tastes a lot like the other aromatized wine products I already have access to." And perhaps Erik built up the quinine level in his head -- not every quinquina is all that quinine forward.

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Consider that while CocktailDB is a useful tool, the substitutions suggested are more or less guesses, and several have been pretty conclusively debunked (cf the extensive Hercules discussion on this very forum). The lack of citations on CocktailBD is a significant limiting factor to its current usefulness, in my opinion.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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