Food DM: Toast to Heritage Month with one of these South African drinks

Amasi. Picture: Supplied

Amasi. Picture: Supplied

Published May 16, 2022


When you visit foreign shores, one of the novelties is sampling drinks unique to that country. From beer to wine, these are South Africa’s finest drinks.


Umqombothi is a traditional beer. Made from corn, it is high in vitamin B and has a lower alcohol content than most commercial beers. This beer is usually drunk in a communal setting where the drink is shared between friends and family. In the past, umqombothi was only drunk by men, despite having been made by the women.

Umqombothi has always been prepared for purposes where there are celebrations, funerals or when a family needs to get in touch with their ancestors.

Made from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water and taking a couple of days to be ready, due to the fermentation process.

Traditionally, it is brewed in a special hut that is not completely thatched so smoke can escape and the beer gets enough oxygen to ferment.

Springbokkies. Picture: Supplied


Springbokkies is a sweet drink named after the South African national rugby team and a popular shooter, named after the long-legged buck.

When prepared by pouring a layer of Amarula over a vibrant peppermint liqueur or crème de menthe, it gives the colour of a springbok and a field, and also the jersey of the Springbok team.

It is served in bars and clubs around the country, especially during the sports season.

Amasi. Picture: Supplied


Amasi, is one of my favourites. Translated as “sour milk”, it is one of South Africa’s food staples that you can enjoy with “umphokoqo” (crumbled pap). From my understanding and how I saw it being done at home, milk from the cow is put in a skin bag or bucket, where it ferments and acquires a sharp acid taste.

What I love about amasi is that it is very nutritious. It is also a pleasant beverage, especially during warmer weather.

Pinotage. Picture: Supplied


It would be impossible to talk about African beverages of any kind without mentioning South African wine.

A well-known local variety is pinotage, with an aroma that reflects the fruits of the luscious South African land, including notes of rooibos tea and tobacco.

Other varieties of South African wine available worldwide include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, sauvignon blanc and shiraz.