Capture the spirit of Jozi or Cape Town in cocktails with these recipes

Brandy is the star ingredient in these glam sips crafted by Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen and Cape Brandy Bar

13 May 2021 - 06:00 By Winifred Bowman
The Capetonian cocktail and the city it is named after.
The Capetonian cocktail and the city it is named after.
Image: Supplied and 123RF/Ava Peattie

What is a cocktail? A colourful drink, a bright paper umbrella perched at the top of the glass or an orange peel twist do not a cocktail make.

Cocktails are traditionally thought of as an American invention, but the origin lies partly in the British punches consumed in punch houses in the 18th century. These were big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juices, spices and other added flavours.

The first mention of cocktail was found in the London newspaper Morning Post and Gazetteer in 1798. The term was defined in 1806, when The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, New York penned it as “a stimulation liquor composed of any kind of sugar, water and bitters” pretty much as we know it today: spirits, sugar and water (mostly in a syrup form), bitters and a dollop of history.

Brandy is one of the first spirits to be used in cocktails. There are many famous cocktails which started out with brandy as its base and moved to another spirit twists later. A great example is the Mint Julep, first mentioned in 1784 in the US and made with brandy and later to be replaced with homegrown American bourbon. 

At Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen and Cape Brandy Bar, mixologist Kurt Schlechter and his team have rediscovered the versatility of making cocktails with brandy.

“The fruity aromas from the grape and vanilla spice from the wood are the perfect match for making great drinks,” says Schlechter. “We are inspired by the sea, the mountain, the fynbos and the vineyards when developing our cocktails and presentations.”

They are also clearly inspired by some SA cities, as the brandy cocktail recipes below show. Try them while celebrating World Cocktail Day on May 13.


Makes: 1


37.5ml (2½ tbsp) SA brandy

25ml (5 tsp) Caperitif (chenin blanc infused with unique Cape botanicals)

2 dashes naartjie bitters

2 dashes aromatic bitters


1 green olive

Strip of orange zest


  1. Stir all the ingredients together and strain through a fine sieve.
  2. Garnish with a green olive and strip of orange zest.
The City of Gold cocktail.
The City of Gold cocktail.
Image: Supplied


Makes: 1


12.5ml  (2½ tsp) SA brandy 

10ml (2 tsp) vanilla syrup

125ml  (½ cup) MCC rosé 


Candyfloss* on a skewer, ideally decorated with edible gold leaf (optional)


  1. Pour the brandy and vanilla syrup into a coupe glass and mix.
  2. Carefully pour in the sparkling wine.
  3. Drop the candyfloss into the drink to dissolve like molten gold. 

* Look out for candyfloss at sweet shops or order online.