Beverage Culture and Famous South African Drinks in South Africa

Updated on January 9, 2024

South Africa is not only famous for its diverse cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, but also for its vibrant beverage culture. Throughout history, the country has developed a unique array of drinks that showcase its rich multicultural influences and indigenous traditions. From refreshing fruit-based concoctions to popular alcoholic beverages, South African drinks offer a delightful taste of the nation’s heritage. In this article, we will explore the diverse beverage culture of South Africa and highlight some of the most famous drinks that have become icons of the country’s culinary scene.

Rooibos Tea: A South African Specialty

One of the most popular and iconic South African drinks is Rooibos tea. This caffeine-free herbal tea is made from the leaves of the indigenous Rooibos plant, which is native to the Western Cape region. Known for its distinctive reddish-brown color and sweet, nutty flavor, Rooibos tea has gained worldwide recognition for its numerous health benefits. Whether enjoyed hot or cold, this refreshing beverage has become a symbol of South African hospitality and is often served with a spoonful of honey and a slice of lemon.

Amasi: A Traditional Fermented Milk Drink

Beverage Culture and Famous South African Drinks in South Africa

Amasi is a traditional South African fermented milk drink that dates back centuries. It is made by allowing raw milk to naturally ferment in a calabash gourd, resulting in a thick and tangy beverage. Amasi is widely consumed by various ethnic groups in South Africa and is considered a staple in many households. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing drink on its own or used in cooking to add flavor and texture to dishes. Amasi is not only delicious but also packed with probiotics, making it a nutritious choice for those seeking a healthy beverage option.

Cape Malay Spiced Chai: A Fusion of Cultures

The Cape Malay Spiced Chai is a unique beverage that reflects the fusion of cultures in South Africa. This aromatic tea is a blend of black tea, milk, and a fragrant mix of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. Influenced by the Indian and Malay communities, this flavorful chai is often enjoyed with a touch of sweetness and is the perfect companion to traditional Cape Malay cuisine. Whether sipped during a leisurely afternoon or served as a welcoming gesture, Cape Malay Spiced Chai is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Marula Fruit Liqueur: A Taste of the Wild

Marula fruit liqueur is a distinctive South African drink that embodies the country’s wild and untamed spirit. This liqueur is made from the ripe fruit of the Marula tree, which is native to the northern regions of South Africa. Known as “Amarula,” this sweet and creamy liqueur has gained international recognition, offering a unique flavor profile reminiscent of caramel, vanilla, and exotic fruits. It is often enjoyed as a standalone drink or used as an ingredient in cocktails and desserts.

Craft Beers: A Rising Trend in South Africa

In recent years, South Africa has seen a remarkable rise in the craft beer scene. A wave of passionate brewers has emerged, creating unique and flavorful beers that cater to diverse tastes. The craft beer revolution in South Africa has introduced a wide range of styles, from hop-forward Indian Pale Ales to smooth and malty Stout beers. These artisanal brews can be found in breweries and pubs throughout the country, offering a taste of South African craftsmanship and innovation.


South Africa’s beverage culture is a delightful reflection of its rich history, diverse cultures, and remarkable natural resources. From traditional herbal teas to modern craft beers, there is a drink to suit every taste and occasion. Whether you find yourself enjoying a refreshing cup of Rooibos tea, savoring the tangy flavors of Amasi, or discovering the unique taste of Marula fruit liqueur, South African drinks provide a captivating exploration of the nation’s flavors and traditions.