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Red Rooibos Rioja

(recipe, Liz Scott)

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Rooibos, meaning “red bush,” is a plant native to South Africa that’s used to make herbal tea. Its high levels of antioxidants and its somewhat sweet, nutty flavor have contributed to its recent popularity. Nearly all tea manufacturers now make some type of rooibos tea, sometimes flavored with other herbs or fruit. Look for the plain rooibos so as not to interfere with the complexity of flavors in this recipe. Delicious on its own as an iced tea, here rooibos combines with a medley of bold fruit juices and a hint of pepper and vanilla to replicate the characteristics of Spanish Rioja wines. This makes a wonderful accompaniment to beef and other hearty meals.


  1. 1 cup boiling water
  2. 1 rooibos tea bag
  3. 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  4. ½ vanilla bean
  5. 1 cup no-sugar-added black cherry juice
  6. 1½ cups no-sugar-added grape juice
  7. ½ cup spring water


  1. Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the tea bags, peppercorns, and vanilla bean, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a small pitcher or decanter and cool the tea to room temperature.
  2. Add the juices and water and stir or swirl to combine. Serve in wineglasses at room temperature or slightly chilled.