African Flower Cocktail Recipe

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African Flower Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The African Flower cocktail is a tribute to the vibrant and diverse cultures of Africa. It's a drink that captures the essence of the continent's rich flavors and spirited traditions.

  • Inspiration: The cocktail is inspired by the African savannah, where the bourbon represents the earthy tones and the CioCiaro and Crème de Cacao blend to mimic the exotic flora.
  • Popularity: It's a hit among those who appreciate a robust cocktail with a hint of sweetness and a touch of citrus.
  • Occasions: Perfect for a sophisticated evening or a themed party that celebrates the beauty of Africa.

How African Flower Tastes?

The African Flower is a harmonious blend of sweet and bitter, with the warmth of bourbon, the herbal notes of CioCiaro, and the rich chocolate undertone from Crème de Cacao. The orange bitters and twist add a zesty freshness that balances the cocktail, making it complex yet approachable.

Interesting facts about African Flower

  • The African Flower cocktail isn't a traditional African drink but a modern creation that celebrates African influences.
  • The use of bourbon as a base spirit adds an American twist to the drink, symbolizing the fusion of different cultures.
  • CioCiaro is an Italian amaro, which adds an international flair to the cocktail's profile.



Bourbon, the soul of this cocktail, brings a full-bodied sweetness and notes of vanilla and caramel. At 2 oz, it stands as the backbone, providing enough presence without overwhelming. Using less would tip the balance towards the liqueurs, making it cloying, while more could drown the subtler flavors. A rye whiskey could stand in, bringing a spicier kick to the mix.

Emma Rose


CioCiaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, offers a complexity that plays well with the sweetness of bourbon. A 3/8 oz pour keeps it from hijacking the drink with its potent herbal profile. If you can't find it, a splash of Amaro can work, though it'll change the drink's profile, adding a more bittersweet flavor.

Alex Green

Crème de Cacao

With 3/8 oz, Crème de Cacao adds a touch of chocolate without turning the drink into dessert. Omit it, and you lose a layer of richness; too much, and you'll be sipping a boozy hot cocoa. A hint of chocolate liqueur could substitute but might not have the same velvety touch.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Bitters

Two dashes of orange bitters bring a citrus zing, bridging the gap between the other flavors. Skip it, and the drink flattens; any more would turn the cocktail into an orange grove. Lemon bitters could be an alternative, lending a brighter tartness.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel

The twist adds aromatic citrus oils and a zesty garnish. It's the flourish that seals the deal, adding a fresh pop to each sip. If you skip the peel, the drink lacks that fragrant je ne sais quoi. A lemon twist could also work for a different kind of citrus punch.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make African Flower Drink

  1. Chill your glass in the freezer.
  2. Combine 2 oz of bourbon, 3/8 oz of CioCiaro, 3/8 oz of Crème de Cacao, and 2 dashes of orange bitters in a mixing glass.
  3. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir gently until well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into the chilled glass over a large ice cube.
  5. Express the orange peel over the drink to release its oils and then garnish with the twist.

Pro Tips

  • Ice: Use a large ice cube to minimize dilution and maintain the strength of the cocktail.
  • Stirring: Stir with a bar spoon for about 30 seconds for optimal dilution and chill.
  • Orange Peel: Make sure to twist the peel over the drink to capture the essential oils on the surface of the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Chocolate Desserts: The sweet notes from the Crème de Cacao harmonize with chocolate confections, creating a rich and indulgent experience.
  • Grilled Steak: The robust flavor of bourbon stands up to the charred, meaty flavors of a well-seasoned steak.
  • Spicy BBQ: The sweetness of the cocktail can balance spicy dishes, offering a refreshing counterpoint to the heat.
  • Cheese Plate: A selection of aged cheeses, like cheddar or gouda, pairs nicely with the complex notes in bourbon.

Drink Pairings

  • Coffee: Enjoy a cup of strong black coffee alongside the African Flower to add a complementary bitterness.
  • Sparkling Water: Between sips of the cocktail, cleanse your palate with some refreshing sparkling water.

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What you could change in African Flower

  • Bourbon: Can be substituted with another type of whiskey if preferred.
  • CioCiaro: If unavailable, a similar amaro or herbal liqueur can be used.
  • Crème de Cacao: A chocolate liqueur of another brand can replace it, though the taste may vary slightly.

Explore all drinks starting with A here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky African Flower

  • Replace Bourbon with Mezcal for a smoky twist.
  • Keep the rest as is. The Mezcal will introduce a smoky depth to the cocktail, creating a mysterious and sultry version of the original. Ideal for those who love the charm of a late-night bonfire.

African Flower Noir

  • Replace CioCiaro with a coffee liqueur.
  • Enhance the chocolate note by using a dark chocolate liqueur instead of Crème de Cacao. The noir version turns the drink into a dessert affair, perfect for sipping post-dinner. It's a whisper of a Parisian café tucked away in a bustling African market.

Citrus Blossom

  • Add a splash of fresh orange juice.
  • Use a lemon twist instead of orange peel. This refreshing option brightens the cocktail, making it a lively partner for brunch or a summer soiree on the savannah. It's like a gentle sunrise over the Serengeti.

In case you forgot basics how to make African Flower

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on African Flower

Why do you stir a cocktail instead of shaking it?

Stirring is a technique used to gently chill and dilute cocktails that are composed of mostly spirits, like the African Flower, without adding too much aeration or cloudiness to the drink.

What's the significance of using an orange twist as a garnish?

An orange twist not only adds an aromatic component but also contributes a light zesty flavor to the cocktail which complements the orange bitters.

How do I choose a good bourbon for cocktails?

A good bourbon for cocktails should have a balanced flavor profile that can stand up to other ingredients without overwhelming them. Look for one that suits your taste preference and that is within your budget.

What kind of glass is best suited for the African Flower?

A rocks glass or an old fashioned glass is ideal for serving the African Flower to accommodate the large ice cube and allow for the aromatics of the garnish to be appreciated.

Can I make a large batch of the African Flower for parties?

Yes, you can scale up the recipe proportions to create a large batch. However, it's best to mix individual servings with ice just before serving to preserve the intended flavor and temperature.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the African Flower cocktail?

Yes, you could create a mocktail version using non-alcoholic bourbon alternatives, a non-alcoholic amaro substitute, and a chocolate-flavored syrup instead of Crème de Cacao, along with the orange bitters if available in a non-alcoholic variant.

How should I store my cocktail ingredients to keep them fresh?

Most spirits should be stored in a cool, dark place. Vermouths and liqueurs like Crème de Cacao should be refrigerated after opening to maintain their flavor and prevent spoilage.

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