This Saturday, for the first time ever at BotswanaCraft’s Letlhafula Festival, Watermelon Wine will be served.
Wildfoods, a natural foods business based in Gabane, will brew the alcoholic beverage that is locally known as Setopoti for the Festival.
Setopoti is made from the flesh of watermelons with seeds intact, which are then fermented using moomelo (malt) that metabolizes the sugar in the watermelon into alcohol. Some of the many variations of fermenting include the use of bicarbonate soda, baker’s yeast and any other alcoholic beverage.
The process of fermenting watermelon wine is shorter than that of sorghum beer. While sorghum beer takes between 3 and 4 days Setopoti takes between a day and two. After which the fermented mixture is filtered, normally using sack.
Setopoti is then kept fresh longer by adding more watermelon juice to it. Though Setopoti has a controversial reputation, because it’s one of the traditional beers that are often spiked, many more people believe it is a worthy Setswana delicacy.
“It’s a beautiful and tasty beverage,” one thirty-seven-year-old man says. “One only has to be careful not to take too much because it many cause diarrhea, which really is a common after effect of drinking many other alcoholic beverages.”