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.
- 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.
I think I mentioned before I am totally into sours. And so the love affair continues. I’ve blogged about a Tequila Sour and an Apricot Lady Sour. This week: a Vodka Sour.
The bitters make this drink.
I received a bottle of Luksusowa gluten-free potato vodka in the mail recently, which promted me to give this clear spirit another go. Truthfully, I’d been a bit vodka’d out, what with all the flavoured vodka martinis that were hugely popular when I first started writing about cocktails in 2010. But the Luksusowa, though rather flavourless as most vodkas are, is smooth. And it mixes gloriously with the other ingedients in this drink.
This Vodka Sour is all smooth lemony goodness. It would be nice with just the first three ingredients, but the bitters give it an edge and the egg white makes a smooth vodka even smoother.
2 oz Luksusowa vodka
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 fresh egg white
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
*Make simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water and heating in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate.
— Recipe adapted from Cocktails Made Easy by Simon Difford