The Dawa Cocktail

With a few simple ingredients – lime juice, honey, brown sugar and vodka – the dawa is the perfect drink on a balmy summer evening.


The inspiration

Last summer we visited family in Mombasa, Kenya; on one of the evenings we went on a sunset dinner cruise on a traditional Arab boat known as a dhow. On this dinner cruise the Tamarind Hotel and Restaurant that hosts the cruise serves a refreshing cocktail called the Dawa.


The dawa

The dawa cocktail consists of lime, honey, brown sugar, sparkling mineral water, and vodka. All the ingredients are muddled together with ice to make a deliciously refreshing drink.


Alcoholic or non alcoholic – make it your way

The dawa comes in two versions, a choice of alcoholic or non-alcoholic dawa. The version with vodka is the favored one by dinner guests, the non-alcoholic version tastes just as delicious.

Here is a recipe for a refreshing lime and honey drink all the way from Mombasa, Kenya.

The Dawa Cocktail
Makes one cocktail


  • 1 lime cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup club soda or sparkling mineral water
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • Ice cubes
  • Small bowl for mixing.
  • Double-old fashioned glass


Pour honey in a bowl.  Add brown sugar and squeeze juice of 1/2 piece of  lime in the bowl.  Muddle all ingredients together until well-blended and brown liquid is formed. I used a whisk to blend.

Add ice in a glass. Pour brown sugar syrup over ice.  Now pour club soda and stir. Virgin dawa is ready.


To make the alcoholic version just add Vodka over the dawa mocktail. Garnish with lime wedges and a dusting of brown sugar.


Try the dawa cocktail on a warm summer evening and see for yourself how refreshing this Kenyan drink can be.


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