Recipe: Nigerian Chapman Cocktail

Now that the temperatures are finally creeping up, I'm getting more in the mood for chilled beverages. While perusing recipes for Thai iced tea, I ran across a blog post that mentioned the Nigerian Chapman cocktail. Its name immediately suggested to me some intriguing imperial concoction, so I did some research to find out about its origins as well as its ingredients.

Often called "Nigeria's signature cocktail" or "Nigerian sangria," the Chapman is actually by tradition mostly nonalcoholic, though many recipes list the optional addition of vodka. It's usually made in large batches for parties and social gatherings, and the ingredients (fresh fruit juices, soda, Angostura bitters and Ribena) reflect the convergence of native and British colonial influences.

Most recipes found on the Internet have their own little tweak courtesy of the creator, leading me to believe there is no one "standard" formula. The following recipe is typical:

Nigerian Chapman Drink

  • 4 tablespoons Ribena
  • 12 ounces orange Fanta
  • 12 ounces Sprite
  • 3 teaspoons Angostura Bitters
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Slices of lime, orange, lemon, mint, and/or cucumbers to garnish

Add 1 cup ice to a large pitcher. Pour in Fanta and Sprite. Mix with wooden spoon. Add Ribena, bitters and fruit juices. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish.

My Nigerian Chapman satisfied my thirst but sparked my hunger. Further wandering on the web led me to Joan Nova's site, on which she details her experience making two Nigerian culinary staples, chicken jollof and plantain imoyo.

The recipes don't seem that complicated, so maybe I'll try my hand at them this weekend. Eh, or not. Given my cooking skills, it might be easier to go to Abuja.

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