There’s a new drink in town – Orijin and I’m a fan.
Orijin…a diminutive of Orijinal, a riff on the word Original.
We sat on wooden chairs, the moon high and bright in the sky.
‘Give me one Orijin’.
‘What’s Orijin?, I asked Femi.
‘One bitter kind of drink like that. Me I like it cold, sha.’
He spoke of it rather glowingly, saying that Guinness had finally tapped into the Nigerian love for ‘local herbs & roots’ in a great way.
I tried it cold and yeah it was nice…but I wasn’t sure I loved it. That was the drink but soon after, I was to discover the bitters.
Orijin Bitters is a unique bittersweet spirit, blended with the flavours of specially selected African herbs and fruits, combined to give a bitter-sweet taste.
Orijin Bitters exist to promote the vibrancy of modern African culture. It is the first ever premium bitters brand in Africa; Guinness
And so when I decided to go all New Nigerian Kitchen with my Chapman, I opted for Orijin instead of Angostura bitters and homemade zobo cordial instead of Ribena. And I served it it coffee cups not beer mugs, dispensed from a beautiful jar…which made it all the way from Philadelphia without a scratch.
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how to infuse Chapman, a drink of Nigerian origin with even more Nigerianness.
At my TEDx talk last October, I talked about Zobo cordial being the homegrown equivalent for Ribena. And Zobo, an infusion of hibiscus sabdariffa leaves is the perfect ingredient for that. Part blackcurrant, part cranberry and all together floral, it works beautifully both from a colour perspective and taste-wise.
I grew up on Chapman. My children are growing up on it and I suspect their children will too.
Caveat on Zobo – it lowers blood pressure so if you are hypotensive / suffer from low blood pressure, watch out and consult your doctor before downing copious amounts.
What have I done anyways? I’ve made a cordial of zobo by combining and cooking equal amounts of infusion and white sugar.
This gets combined when cold with Orijin bitters, Fanta Orange, Cucumber, Lime, Lemon and lots of ice. Best believe this is the New Nigerian Chapman, baby.
- For the Zobo
- 1 1/2 cups Zobo Cordial
- 1.5 litres Sprite or 7 up, preferably cold
- 1.5 litres Fanta, preferably cold
- 2 - 3 tablespoons Orijin Bitters
- Squeeze of Lime (lemon, and or oranges welcome)
- Diced cucumbers, lemon slices
- Ice, citrus slices, cucumber sticks
- In a dispenser, jug or punch bowl combine all the ingredients
- Stir well till combined. Taste and adjust accordingly
- Serve in glasses, topped up with ice and 'jazzed up' with lime slices or cucumber sticks
It is lovely. Funny thing is you can’t taste the difference between this and the classic.
Though one might feel the price difference if you cared. This version works out cheaper on both the Zobo cordial and the Orijin bitters.
Slowly and surely, we’re getting to our dream of establishing a New Nigerian Kitchen.