28 December 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Top 10 SA spirits to toast the New Year!

If you’ll be ringing in the New Year in South Africa, then try adding some local spirit to your celebration. From venerable dessert wines to luscious liqueurs, here’s my list of the Top 10 tipples to give your New Year’s Eve bash a distinctly South African flavour.

1) Vin de Constance
South Africa’s most iconic dessert wine produced once more by the historic Klein Constantia estate, from Muscat de Frontignan (muscat blanc á petits grains), is back! Seek out a 2006 vintage and salute the New Year with well-chilled stylish sips.

2) Cape Velvet Cream
One for the ladies and sweet-toothed cocktail lovers. Splash this cream-based, brandy fortified aperitif over ice, whizz it in a blender with vanilla ice-cream to make a Cape Velvet Pedro, or combine it with peppermint liqueur for a shot, called a Springbok, that will knock you into the New Year!

3) KWV Van Der Hum Liqueur
Five-year-old potstill brandy, wine distillate, herbs, and spices and naartjie (tangerine) peel make this citrus perfumed aperitif the quintessential South African liqueur. Mellow, spicy, sweet, and the colour of golden amber, it goes down a treat over crushed ice anywhere there’s a sunset.

4) Klipdrift Brandy
Klipdrift Brandy, or Klippies, as the locals call it, is a local liquor legend. Klippies and Coke is to South Africa what Glüwein is to German-speaking countries. When visiting South Africa it’s a rite of passage you cannot forgo; and the more you drink the better you’ll speak Souf Effriken!

5) Castle Lager
Castle Lager is the beer most frequently associated with South African beer drinkers and international sporting events. With its famous byline, “Somewhat bitter; somewhat dry, but never sweet” taste, you’ll enjoy this pale, naturally brewed lager when the clock strikes midnight, and as the hair of the dog the morning after…

6) Amarula Liqueur
South Africa’s most famous export liqueur. A magical, mystical cream-based spirit distilled from Marula fruits. The myth that fermented Marula fruits make elephants and monkeys merry may be balderdash, but take care how many cocktails you consume, for Amarula is deceptively, and deliciously, potent.

7) Mampoer
Strictly for party animals with cast-iron livers or those who’ve had a 2011 they’d rather forget. Mampoer, a local white brandy distilled from stone fruits and citrus, isn’t called witblitz (white lightening) for nothing. Consume with care…

8) Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry
Launched in 1916, OB’s (pronounced oh-bees) is made in the Spanish Oloroso style to give it a sweeter taste and nutty brown colour. A cult wine among local sherry drinkers, it’s the quintessential toe-and-finger-defroster in the winter, and poured chilled over crushed ice in summer, it goes with any location, anytime, anywhere…

9) Captain Morgan Rum
If you like your New Year with a “Yo-ho-ho” then tuck a bottle of Captain Morgan Black Label Rum or Captain Morgan Spiced Gold (Keppies to the locals) under your arm and set sail for a New Year’s Eve to remember (well, some of it anyway).

Though it’s made from imported Jamaican spirit, you haven’t lived till you’ve drunk a Captain’s cappuccino (Captain Morgan Black Label Rum, when mixed with coke, creates a unique and distinctive foam head and lacing on the glass).

10) Allesverloren
Last on my list…the name says it all. Allesverloren, meaning ‘everything is lost’, brings my list of Top 10 local SA spirits to toast the New Year to a close.

Though the name may eloquently sum up most New Year’s Eve parties the following morning, this venerable Swartland estate has been producing excellent red wines and ports since the 1700s. So if it’s a quiet New Year for you, alone, or with family and loved ones, here’s a wine to ensure 2012 will be your best vintage ever! Happy New Year.


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