10 Amazing Traditional African Drinks You Need To Try

Africa is a continent with a lot of rich cultures and just like food, there are a lot of drinks indigenous to Africa, You’ll be exposed to a wide range of varieties of African drinks in this article, and how they are prepared. These drinks are widely consumed and shared throughout Africa, and even the rest of the world. African drinks are well-known worldwide, ranging from coffee to wine and a variety of other beverages.

What are the Most Popular Drinks in Africa?

Zobo (Zoborodo) drink

zobo Africa drink
Image from low Carb Africa

We’re going to be licking this article off with the popular Zobo drink, a familiar beverage loved by Nigerians. It is made from dried Roselle plant flowers (botanically known as Hibiscus sabdariffa). The drink is also known as Roselle drink and called Sorrel drink in the Caribbean. Zobo has a sour taste so it can clash with sugars. Zobo drink is called Bissap in Burkina Faso and Sobolo in Ghana. It tastes a bit grapey and a little bit like cranberry juice and can be served with mint leaves.

This African drink is usually produced by boiling the petals of the Roselle flower along with pineapple peel, pineapple flavor, and orange flavor in the water. Pineapple fruit and orange fruit are rich sources of nutrients and phytochemicals which are beneficial to health.

Varieties of zobo drink

There are actually three existing varieties of zobo drink. They include;

  • The dark red zobo drink
  • The wine variety
  • The bright red zobo drink

Nutritional constituents of zobo drink

Zobo drink is very rich in essential nutrients. Its nutritional constituents include:

  • Protein: 1.14 g
  • Fat: 2.60 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Calcium: 1.2 mg
  • Phosphorus: 273 mg
  • Iron: 9 mg
  • Carotene: 0.02 mg
  • Thiamine: 0.11 mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.28 mg
  • Niacin: 3.76 mg
  • Vitamin C (7.5mg g-1)
  • ash (15.5%)
  • sodium (50.67 ppm)
  • potassium (235 ppm)

The dark red zobo drink has the highest percentage of Vitamin C (7.5 mg g-1), calcium (4 ppm), and ash (15.5%) content, the bright red recorded a high value in only magnesium (13.25 ppm) and the wine, however, recorded the highest value in sodium (50.67 ppm), potassium (235 ppm), iron (1.17 ppm). The pH was noted to be high in all three varieties i.e., 2.53. 2.50 and 2.67 for dark red, bright red, and wine, respectively.

Health benefits of Zobo drink

Zobo drink is one African drink is one drink that is richly packed with nutrients and this offers so many health benefits. For the purpose of this article, we’d be listing only a few.

Blood pressure control:

In pre-hypertensive and slightly hypertensive people, consuming zobo drinks may reduce blood pressure. It has antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects that could help patients with hypertension and those who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Helps relieve menstrual cramps:

The traditional health advantages of hibiscus tea include cramp reduction and menstrual pain relief. It’s also known to help with hormonal balance, which can help with menstrual symptoms including mood swings, depression, and overeating.

Lowers cholesterol level:

This African drink helps to lower the body’s levels of (bad) LDL cholesterol, thereby helping to protect against heart disease and blood vessel damage. The drink’s hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic characteristics may be advantageous to people with blood sugar issues like diabetes.

Recommended in people with kidney stones:

It is usually advised that persons with renal problems should consume Zobo drink on a regular basis since the traditional African drink contains 15 to 30 percent organic acids such as tartaric acid, citric acid, and maleic acid. These acids can aid in the kidneys’ ability to filter out oxalic and uric acid, two wastes that can cause kidney stones.

Other benefits of this African drink include;

  • Good for people with constipation
  • It has been said to help prevent cancer
  • Helps in weight control
  • Helps to gain back lost appetite
  • It greatly enhances the immune system
  • It has been known to treat the common cold
  • Helps increase the production of red blood cells which would be very helpful in anemic patients
  • Helps maintain a healthy eye

How to prepare Zobo drink

The ingredients needed to prepare this delicious African drink include;

  • 2 Cups of dried Zobo leaves 1 glove of Garlic
  • 1 big ripe Pineapple
  • 1 small piece of Ginger
  • Pieces of the fruit of your choice among Beetroot, Pineapple, Mango, or Orange.
  • Cubes of Ice
  • Lots of water
  • Sugar (as desired)

Preparing the ingredients:

  • First, rinse out the dust from the Zobo leaves and grind the cloves into powder.
  • Also, wash and peel the skin of the Ginger before you grind it rough (not smooth).
  • Wash, peel, and slice your Beetroot, Pineapple, Mango, or Orange into thin pieces.

Instructions:

  • Put the rinsed Zobo leaves into a clean pot, pour sufficient water until it covers the leaves, and leave to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add your Ginger plus the Garlic and add more water to the pot. Leave to cook for 30 more minutes so that the leaves can get soft.
  • After 30 mins, bring the pot down and leave to cook while you blend the Beetroot, Pineapple, Mango, or Orange.
  • Once it has cooled down, sieve out the Zobo leaves and pour the juice through a chiffon cloth to effectively separate any tiny particles from the juice.
  • Also, take the blended fruit juice and sift the chaff away using a Chiffon cloth. Pour the smooth extracted fruit juice into the extracted Zobo juice.

 

Sobia Drink

sobia African drink
Image from 196Flavors

Sobia is an Egyptian traditional drink prepared with rice, coconut milk, and sugar, sometimes with cinnamon and cardamom. It’s vanilla-flavored and served cold, with crushed ice. This African drink is a thick and flavorful meal that falls in between a drink and a dessert.

How to prepare Sobia drink

The ingredients needed to prepare this drink are;

  • 100 Short-grain rice
  • 1-liter cold full cream milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp coconut essence
  • Ice cubes (as needed)

Instructions:

  • Wash the rice under cold running water, then soak in freshwater for half an hour.
  • Pour 500 ml water into a medium pot and boil the drained rice over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the rice is very soft.
  • Let the rice cool completely and then add the cold milk.
  • Mix in the sugar, vanilla, and coconut essences and the ice cubes. Place in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Strain through a sieve and serve chilled.

Oshikundu African drink

oshikundu African drink
Image from TasteAtlas

Oshikundu, also known as ontaku in Namibia, is a fermented millet drink (mahangu). This African drink is a cereal-based fermented beverage drink common among the eaWambo people of north-central regions of Namibia namely; Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto, and Ohangwena. It is made from mahangu; pearl millet (Pennisetum galucum) and Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor).

Oshikundu is regarded as a soft drink and it is very nutritious, especially, for babies and children alike.

Variations of this African drink

There are two variants of this delicious African drink;

  • The non-alcoholic variant
  • The alcoholic variant

Nutritional constituents

2 cups of oshikundu contain;
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 79g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 1g

Oshikundu processing methods

The main ingredients for this African drink are water, mahangu flour, a small amount of sorghum flour, oshihete shoshikundu (starter culture which is a little amount of already fermented oshikundu left from previous day). Water is first boiled separately and added to the mahangu flour while being stirred. After stirring, the mixture is cooled and a small amount of dry sorghum is added afterward. Water is added for the desired volume and thickness of oshikundu. A previously fermented oshikundu is added as a starter culture and left to ferment for 4-6 hours and kept in the shading area of the house.

 

Witblits

witblits African drink
Image from Travel Ground

Witblits is a brand indigenous to South Africa, manufactured from grapes, typically from winery leftovers. Witblits is un-aged, which means it does not undergo any maturation, resulting in a transparent liquid. Witblits’ other distinguishing feature is that it is undiluted, which gives it its traditionally high proof. Witblits, like Mampoer, can be classified as Moonshine because of these factors.

The fact that Moonshine is associated with it does not necessarily imply that it is of high quality. Many farmers take delight in producing witblits from hand-crafted formulas, resulting in a higher-quality brandy than normal moonshine.

 

Palm Wine

palm wine African drink
Image from Rebrand Nigeria

The sap of the palm tree is used to make palm wine (or toddy). It’s found in many parts of Asia and Africa, and it goes by a variety of names. The palm sap is gathered from the palm’s unopened inflorescence using sophisticated tapping procedures into earthen pitchers or bamboo tubes inoculated with yeasts and bacteria from previously fermented products.

As soon as the sap enters the pitcher, the fermentation process begins. Palm wine has yielded a number of yeast and LAB strains (Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, Lactococcus, and Streptococcus). After 24 hours of fermentation, the ethanol level might reach 9% (v/v). Acetic acid and other off-flavors may emerge if fermented for too long.

Nutritional constituents of Palm wine

The biochemical makeup of this African drink has been reported to consist of different sugars. This ranged between 0.10 of maltose and 8.74 mg/100 ml of sucrose. Other values reported include

  • Protein (39.03 mg/100ml)
  • Free amino acids (59.63 mg/100 ml)
  • Lipids (62.65mg/100 ml)
  • Ethanol (3.4/ 100 ml)
  • Iron

Health benefits of palm wine

Promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails:

Palm wine promotes healthy hair, skin, and nail through the iron and vitamin B complex it contains, which are essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Iron is required for the development, growth, and function of several of our body’s cells. Palm wine has this property, which helps to promote wound healing by rebuilding our tissues and encouraging the formation of healthy cells.

Promotes breast milk production in nursing mothers:

Breast milk production is stimulated when nursing women consume coconut oil. However, many natural healers in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, and other parts of Africa are known to utilize palm wine to support breastfeeding moms who have inadequate breast milk production.

Helps in the fight against cancer:

Riboflavin, generally known as Vitamin B2, is found in palm wine. Riboflavin is an antioxidant that aids in the battle against free radicals, which are cancer-causing chemicals. A reasonable amount of fresh palm wine is sufficient to provide the body with the necessary amount of Vitamin B2.

Great for good vision:

Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in palm wine. Vitamin C, on the other hand, aids in the preservation of healthy eye health. It also contains Vitamin B1 (thiamine), which aids in the improvement of our vision.

Useful in baking:

Indians are known to use fermentation to make special native bread due to the wild yeast concentration of palm wine. The knowledge gained from this practice could help Africa improve its baking skills. If specially cultivated palm wine yeast is generated in industrial numbers, the added cost of importing baking yeast might be avoided. The yeast could also be combined with other locally-sourced materials and used to develop other baked foods.

How to make palm wine

Sap fermentation is an alcoholic fermentation of the sugars in the sap that results in the production of alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. The sap that is harvested is sweet. It goes through a rapid natural fermentation to make alcohol after being collected. The product has an extremely short shelf life – only one day – after which the wine becomes acidic.

The sap should be taken from a palm that is still growing. The palm is tapped to gather it. Making a small incision in the palm’s bark, around 15cm from the top of the trunk, is required. To catch the sap that runs into the tree, a clean gourd is tied around it. Every day, the sap is gathered and consumed between 5-12 hours after harvest.

The sap is not heated and the wine is an excellent substrate for microbial growth. It is therefore essential that proper hygienic collection procedures are followed to prevent contaminating bacteria from competing with the yeast and producing acid instead of alcohol.

Fermentation starts soon after the sap is collected and within an hour or two becomes reasonably high in alcohol (up to 4%). If allowed to continue to ferment for more than a day, it starts turning into vinegar. Some people like a vinegary flavor.

Extraction of a high output of palm sap without excessive contamination by spoilage microorganisms, as well as optimal storage to allow spontaneous fermentation to occur, are the major control points.

The conditions under which the sap is collected impact the quality of the eventual wine. When the collecting gourd isn’t cleansed between collections, residual yeasts in the gourd start the fermentation process right away. This is advantageous because it inhibits the growth of microorganisms that could ruin the sap.

Grogue

Grogue African drink
Image from capeverdetravel

Grogue is a Cape Verdean alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane, also called as grogu or grogo (derived from English grog). Grogue is made primarily by hand, and nearly all of the sugarcane is used in its manufacturing. Trapiche presses are used to process the cane. The African drink is associated with the Cape Verdeans and is drunk on several occasions.

How it is made

As stated earlier, this African drink is traditionally made from sugar cane juice. If the sugar (white or brown) will flourish it is cut. The sugar cane stalks are pressed and the residue is molasses. This is the syrupy product from the production of sugar cane. The molasses is diluted with water in order to let it then ferment. After heating ultimately alcohol can be distilled from it. Of every 200 liters of thickened molasses distillery can produce up to 30 liters of quality grogue.

 

Amasi

Amasi African drink
Image from TasteAtlas

Amasi is popularly known by the name maas in Afrikaans, Magege in the Tsonga language, mafi in Sesotho,  This African drink is fermented milk in a calabash. This popular milk beverage that tastes like cottage cheese or plain yogurt is traditionally prepared by storing unpasteurized cow’s milk in a calabash or container till it ferments and separating the water called Umlaza and the thick liquid which is the amasi. Mostly gotten from cattle, and rarely from goats, this fermented milk, Amasi contains a lot of valuable probiotics and an amazing source of calcium, Vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and protein. It is mostly poured over Mealie meal (pap) or eaten alone with wooden spoons straight from a calabash.

Nutritional facts

One cup of amasi (8 ounces, or 240 ml) that are made with whole cow’s milk has about:

  • 170 calories
  • 8 grams protein
  • 11 grams fat
  • 7 grams sugar
  • 10 grams carbohydrates

This African drink is a good source of nutrients including:

  • probiotic bacteria
  • protein
  • calcium
  • B vitamins
  • vitamin A
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • omega-3 fatty acids and CLA

Health benefits of this African drink

  • Gut healing food with probiotics. Probiotics can improve ones digestive health, helping to ease common issues such as bloating and constipation
  • It can boost ones immune system and help fight against some diseases
  • Has nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin A and calcium

Click to view the recipe

 

Mazagran

mazagran African drink
Image from CoffeeNinjaTraining

Mazagran is made with strong, hot coffee poured over ice, and it’s usually served in a tall, thin glass. It’s also known as “coffee with water instead of milk,” in which the coffee is provided in a tall glass with a separate container of water to mix in with it.

The drink is also known as sweetened “Portuguese iced coffee,” which is made with strong coffee or espresso served over ice and garnished with lemon. In Portuguese variations of the drink, rum is sometimes added, and it may be sweetened with sugar syrup.

This African drink is served with an ice cube and is made with rum in Austria. The drink is usually consumed “in one gulp.” It’s made with ice coffee and lemon in Catalonia.

 

Boza

bosa African drink
Image from tour-tour-tour

Boza, also known as bosa or bozo, is a fermented drink popular in North Africa, Central and Western Asia, the Caucasus, and Southeast Europe. It’s a malt beverage created from fermenting a variety of grains, including maize (corn) and wheat in Turkey, wheat or millet in Bulgaria and Romania, and barley in Ancient Egypt.

Nutritional constituents

The flavor varies according to the cereal which is used. Measuring boza samples made from maize, wheat, and rice flours, researchers determined an average of;

  • 12.3% total sugar
  • 1.06% protein
  • 0.07% fat

Health benefits of Boza

  • Boza is good for skin and hair health because of the B12 vitamin and other minerals it contains. Dry skin is moisturized, spills are prevented, the skin is softened, and the skin appears healthy, matte, and shining.
  • It enables the body to gain high amounts of energy.
  • Boza facilitates digestion and is good for many stomach ailments.
  • It helps to remove carcinogenic substances in the body thus preventing cancer, relieving heart fatigue, and improving cardiovascular diseases.
  • It provides protection and resistance against diseases such as boza, influenza, colds, and various colds that increase body resistance and provide energy.
  • Boza, which contains many vitamins and minerals, helps to treat cough.
  • Another benefit of boza to human health is memory strengthening.
  • It helps to increase breastfeeding women’s milk.

Preparing Boza drink

Ingredients:

The ingredients needed to make this delicious African drink include;

  • 2 and ½ cups bulgur
  • ½ cup rice
  • 15 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 and ½ cups extra sugar
  • Cinnamon and roasted chickpeas for topping

Instructions:

  • Fill a large and deep pot with 14 cups of water.
  • Wash bulgur and rice very well, add them into the pot, and boil until mushy.
  • Strain them using a fine strainer and press with a spatula. Throw the dregs away.
  • Let it sit uncovered away from the sun for about 2 hours.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast with 1 cup water and add into the pot. Cover it with the lid.
  • Let it sit in a cool place for about 20 hours stirring every once in a while.
  • Add the rest of the sugar after 20 hours and stir well.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator.

 

Dawa (African Cocktail)

kenyan dawa African drink
Image from momoafrica

This delicious African drink, “Kenya’s national drink”, is made with vodka, lime juice, and honey, and it’s served with a lime wheel and a ‘Dawa Stick’ for stirring the honey. It’s also known as Dawa, which is taken from the Swahili word for “medicine.” It’s a refreshing drink that’ll cure whatever ails you.

Preparing this African drink

Ingredients:

The ingredients needed to make this delicious African drink include;

  • 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 fluid ounces of vodka
  • crushed ice cube
  • 1 whole lime, a quarter with skin on
  • 1 dawa stick, twisted in creamed honey

Instructions:

  • Put lime and sugar into a whisky tumbler.
  • Crush limes slightly, add ice, and pour in the vodka.
  • At this point, you twist a Dawa stick into some honey and add the stick to the drink. A wooden honey stick or other types of stick twisted in honey will work.
  • Muddle limes with Dawa or honey stick. The more you crush the limes into the mixture and stir the sweeter the taste.

 

10 delicious African drinks delivered as promised. Do try out some of these recipes at home and enjoy their nourishing and health-rich benefits.

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Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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