Dawa: The Best Medicine

The Swahili language is full of colourful expressions and beautiful words. One such word is "dawa", which means "medicine". The main reason I find this word beautiful is because it's also the name of Tanzania's flagship cocktail.

  Enjoying our medicine on Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar.

Enjoying our medicine on Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
— Leonardo da Vinci

Da Vinci was right. Dawa is the ultimate sophistication with 4 simple ingredients:

  • Konyagi (a 35% alcohol Tanzanian distilled spirit)
  • Honey
  • Lime
  • Mint
  • Crushed ice.

Okay, so 5 ingredients if you count the ice...

  If you have trouble finding Konyagi, vodka will do the job too.

If you have trouble finding Konyagi, vodka will do the job too.

Preparation methods vary from place to place but my one is best so do it this way:

Method

Step 1. In a glass, mix a shot or two (or heaps) of Konyagi with the juice of a couple of limes
Step 2. Add honey to taste and stir well.  The flavours should be strong but balanced - better to have it a bit sweet because honey added later won't dissolve with the ice.
Step 3. Add a few slices of lime and throw in some scrunched up mint.
Step 4. Fill up the glass with crushed ice, pop in a straw, and say "Hakuna Matata" before you draw a long, satisfying sip of your new favourite medicine.

Dawa: good for what's wrong with you.