Drink of the Week: Dawa Cocktail

An African holiday calls for a cocktail from the continent. A classic cocktail most people have heard of is the Dawa. The word dawa is Swahili for medicine and after sampling the drink — a strong mixture of vodka, lime juice and honey — I can see it’s been appropriately named.

Dawa means “medicine” in Swahili.

The Dawa first made a name for itself in Kenya, where it’s as popular in Nairobi  as it is on safari as a sundowner cocktail. Since Tanzania borders Kenya, the drink is equally popular there.

Perfect to sip on safari: cold, refreshing and strong.

I love the libation’s simplicity: muddled lime, honey and brown sugar meets crushed ice and cold vodka. It’s simultaneously sweet, tart and strong. And did I mention refreshing? Dawa, indeed.

Dawa Cocktail

  • 2 oz vodka (I used Zubrowka)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lime, quartered then cut into chunks, plus lime wheel garnish
  • Crushed ice

Into a rocks glass place lime chunks, honey and sugar. Muddle just enough to release the lime juice and mix with the honey and sugar, but not so much as to mash the pith (that will release a bitter flavour). Add some crushed ice, then the vodka and stir to combine ingredients and bring up the lime from the bottom of the glass. Add more ice until the glass is full, then garnish with a lime wheel.

Honey and brown sugar add just the right balance of sweet.

 

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5 responses to “Drink of the Week: Dawa Cocktail

  1. Pingback: Drink of the Week: French Gimlet | Drink – Play – Love

  2. I always enjoy Dawa when I visit Cocos Bar in Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa. I like it very much.

  3. I had this drink in Kenya, made with Roses Lime juice, I don’t know how much lime juice to use.

    • I use a whole lime. Juice half of it and add juice to your glass, then quarter and muddle the other half, along with the lime juice, with the honey and vodka. (I recommend using a real lime over Rose’s Lime; it will taste better.)

  4. Pingback: Drink of the Week: Jamaican Honey Soother | Drink - Play - Love

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