One of the things my husband and I love to shop for on vacation is liqueur. Hooch. Booze. Tipple. Whatever you want to call it. You can find the strangest and most wonderful alcohol-based drinks in other parts of the world that you could never hope to find back home. Sometimes, with good reason. And often, the local drinks you find really capture the spirit (pun intended) of the place of origin. Vasie se Pitte, from Namibia, is one of those very liqueurs.
From the label, you might initially think this bottle was purchased at some little liquor store in rural Alberta. I mean look at the little dude in the picture, he’s great isn’t he? He’s mellow and feeling no pain. He’s obviously been at the bar for a while now. Probably swaying gently to the dulcet tones of Shania Twain or George Strait, complaining to his buddies about how his wife left him and took his dog and his truck. He’s just hoping she left the TV and tractor behind…
Wait, are those flies buzzing around his head? Or is he just sweating profusely?
Ahh but no, this liqueur isn’t from Canada at all sadly. This is a bottle of Vasie se Pitte Granadilla liqueur, which we actually purchased on our trip through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2009, I believe. Although it’s labelled as being from South Africa, we purchased it in Swakopmund, Namibia.
Granadilla is in the same family as passion fruit, though the label indicates “distilled from 100% pure grape spirit, blended with passion fruit.” Six of one, half a dozen of the other, I suppose. We tried granadilla pop on the same trip and it tasted close enough to passion fruit to our untrained palates. And once you add the alcohol it’s not like anyone would be able to taste the difference, so whether it’s passion fruit or granadilla, if you have a cocktail recipe requiring either, this would do in a pinch.
As you can tell from the amount still remaining, we’ve been taking this one slow. In fact, we even shared it with friends one night, and this is still how much we have left. It’s a rather unforgiving (and puckery) combination of sugar and acid, and I’m pretty sure you could do some serious damage to yourself if you drank too much of it in one go.
The last time I had a taste I was rewarded with an instant migraine, so I haven’t touched it since. It may have just been a coincidence, but unless I’m using it as a mixer I’m not going to take the chance of drinking it straight again. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t eaten through the glass bottle it came in, to be honest. This baby is potent!
As for the translation, I don’t read Afrikaans so I ran this sucker through Google Translate. Vasie se Pitte came out as “invasion kernels.” I certainly wouldn’t dispute that translation, as the granadilla seeds do look a bit alien, even alive:
Here’s a nice close-up of the granadilla seeds. It’s darkened since we first purchased it, when it was a bright, happy shade of orange. And…do the seeds look furry to you? Well, that’s just the alcohol breaking down the organic material, as we have had it sitting for a while now. It was “prettier” when we first purchased it. But as with most liqueurs, they don’t last forever, and they tend to oxidize, especially if they contain real fruit.
My husband assures me it still tastes the same. Or at least as close to the same as to still be palatable. Anytime I tell him “maybe it’s time we empty this one, we’ve had it for a while” he insists that he still takes a shot every now and again and clutches it possessively to his chest. Well, ok he doesn’t really do that. But that’s what I picture him mentally doing when I suggest that maybe this one has passed its “best before” date.
Then again, the alcohol content of Vasie se Pitte probably keeps it fairly preserved, so maybe it is still ok to keep around. It would be especially nice in a tall cocktail over ice and orange juice, with maybe a bit of grenadine to mellow out the acidity, or mixed with peach nectar like a bellini. Something summery with chunky bits of fruit.
As for the phrase on the side, Google Translate decided that “ga” ma dis lekke” means “ga mother licks it”. Ummm. I may have to ask my friend who speaks Afrikaans what the proper translation for that is. Any takers?
20 Replies to “Vasie Se Pitte Granadilla Liqueur Review (Namibia)”
I haven’t been able to find any liquor stores in South Africa that sell Vasie se Pitte. However you may be able to find Kaapse Pittekou Liqueur, which is also a granadilla-based liquor, made by a company in South Africa.
Can we buy Vasie se Pitte in South Africa
We will be receiving a fresh batch of Vasie se Pitte 27 Feb 2019
Spoton Shopping Centre
Oh wow, what a small world! I didn’t realize you are from Edmonton either! Yes granadilla liqueur looks quite unusual, especially when it’s as old as this bottle is now. It’s still one of the more unique liqueurs we’ve found on holidays.
First of all – hello fellow Edmonton blogger!!! You commented on my twitter the other day with your blog link and I had no idea you were from Edmonton! Second, those granadilla seeds look like bee’s! I was shocked when I first looked at the picture before reading the post. I don’t know if I could try them.
Thank you so much for helping with the translation! I do remember hearing the word lekker, usually said during meals. Your translation makes a lot more sense than Google Translate did! 🙂
I see a few people helped clarify some of your questions about the translation of the lable, but I see they missed the “ga ma dis lekke” part.
I will help with that 🙂
“Ga” is a form of verbal exclaimation in afrikaans, similar to ‘Oh!’ or ‘Man!’
And the “ma dis lekke” is actually spelled like it’s being said, that’s why your google translate gave such a strange answer. The correct spelling is “maar dis lekker” and that translates to “it is delicious”. “Lekker” is a word we Afrikaners use to describe things we enjoy… literally anything can be lekker. A fun experience= lekker. Good food= lekker. A hot girl (in men’s cases) = lekker.
You get the idea.
Hope it helps.
That would be a wonderful treat! Thank you for the suggestion!
Next time you visit Namibie (Walvis Bay) Pop in at Spoton Shopping Centre ask for the Owner – Servaas of Vasie se pitte. He will be more than glad to meet his clients from abroad 🙂
Daughter of “Vasie”
I am so glad they still make this stuff! I haven’t found anything like it since. I keep thinking it would be great in a fruity cocktail but we have more fun having friends over and giving them a little to try. 🙂
Ha! When I ordered a shot of this in Namibia a week ago, the bartender informed me it’s basically moonshine and that I should take it easy. She wasn’t lying. We’ve now got 2 bottles ready for the flight home. It’s great!
yes only the passionfruit one, He use to also import “bok melk” which is basically vodka, sweetened condensed milk and then you serve it with a little bit of cinnamon on top. But the shelf live did not last and we stopped. So yes just vase se pitte. Geeting our fresh batch week of 25 Jan again!
Have a wonderful day
Wow, thank you so much for your response Lizane! It makes sense with using the fresh fruit that some years would be better than others so availability would be an issue sometimes. It’s a wonderful mixer for cocktails in the summer, but I agree, the alcohol content back when we purchased it made it a hard drink on its own. Does your father only make the passionfruit liqueur, or are there other flavours as well?
What an interesting read! Just to give you a little background. Vasie is my father (Servaas van Wyk) who is the owner of Spot-On Shopping Centre in Walvis Bay , Namibia. The product is bottled in south africa (As namibia does not have the facilities for us to do so) and then imported to namibia where we label and distribute it.
The production has definitely not stopped however their is a availability issue from time to time due to the pulp that is not always available.
As to selling in South Africa…. we would love to however our product is not listed and should it be we will have no control of sales unless we can have a supplier.
The reason for the colour change is due to the fresh fruit pulp that is in the recipe….and I believe my father has reduced the alc. percentage due to too many people complaining that it was just to strong.
Hope you have a lovely day!!!
Thanks for the info Stef! Now that I know it’s no longer being made, the half-bottle we have left is a little more unique! I was actually tempted to toss out the rest since it’s more than a few years old now, but apparently my husband still has a nip of it now and again.
The name Vasie se pitte is much simpler than the explanations you already received. Vasie is a name, like John, Nick or Peter. The word pitte is just seeds in English. So the direct translation would be Vasie’s seeds. They stopped production unfortunately. I luckily still have one bottle left. Strangely, even though it gets packaged here in South Africa, we cannot purchase it here. But we get from friends who live in Namibia and travel back and forth.
Hope this helps
South Africa, Cape Town
Thank you so much for explaining this! I think it’s the kind of liquor that would be wonderful mixed in a cocktail, maybe with mango juice. But straight-up is way too potent, I agree. It needs to be diluted with other ingredients. It still tastes the same, but it’s definitely not as pretty as it was when we first purchased it!
I would like to clarify some of your questions. “Vasie” is an acronym for Servaas, the proprietor of Spot On Liquor Bottlestore’s name. The liquor might become darker with time and the “scum” referred to is just the pulp surrounding the granadilla “passion fruit” pips. The mixture just consists of sugar, fruit pulp and either vodka of brandy.
Please enjoy with caution, it is potent!
Hello! We actually kept the label on it, which says it was imported and distributed by Spot-On Wholesale liquor, though I can’t recall if that was the actual name of the shop itself. We bought it in Swakopmund though. We always bring a bottle or two (or four) home, and so far we’ve never had a bottle break! We backpack too, so everything is soft-sided, but we pack all our clothes around the bottles, and use stuff sacks so the bottles are well padded inside. You can also buy plastic bags for packing bottles that inflate, but I think they are designed more to prevent a broken bottle from spilling on your clothes than to keep it from breaking all together. But that’s our trick for packing bottles: put it in a stuff sack, pack clothes around it until it’s tight, and try to keep the bottles in the center of the backpack so if they toss it or throw something heavy on top, it’s got padding all around it. But I miss the days when we could bring them in our carry-ons. 🙁
Do you remember which store or where you purchased this in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay? Also how did you get it home, was it fine being in your suitcase?