Bartender has rooibos secret

SA’s best bartender, Owen O’ Reilly
SA’s best bartender, Owen O’ Reilly
Image: Supplied

SA’s best bartender, Owen O’Reilly, is headed to Glasgow next week to compete in the World Class Bartender Competition finals and hopes to wow judges with his homegrown rooibos brew.

For the international championship, each participant had to come up with a commercial cocktail concept that would also benefit impoverished communities. A canned rooibos tea-based mix, which he has named VUKA, was an obvious choice for O’ Reilly.

“Rooibos is indigenous to South Africa and speaks to the country’s rich heritage.

“It’s also becoming a firm favourite in bars across the world, as bartenders move away from complex mixes by including organic and natural ingredients, such as fynbos.

“Rooibos’s naturally sweet taste lends itself to various infusions,” he said.

If O’ Reilly wins, the plan is to uplift the Wupperthal community in the heartland of rooibos with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his proposed rooibos mix.

More than 60 countries will compete for the sought-after title at the event, where cocktail lovers and judges will be able to sample over 150 drinks from September 25 to 29.