Nigerian Chapman: How to Make Chapman Drink

July 13, 2017 (Last Updated: March 23, 2020)

Nigeria’s favorite non-alcoholic cocktail, this Nigerian chapman drink is a version of the refreshing beverage with more natural alternatives but the same great taste!

A cup of Nigerian Chapman Drink

So The first time I had a Nigerian Chapman drink, I must have been about 10 years old, and it was at a place called Ikoyi Club in Lagos, Nigeria. Ikoyi club was somewhat of a country club back in the day, and it was the fun spot for me and my sisters to hang out and participate in a bunch of fun activities. Back then, we would always order food and drinks, and while we kids got to have the soda of our choice, my parents always ordered this tasty Chapman cocktail. Since my parents frequently ordered Chapman, I assumed it was an adult beverage until one day I asked to try my mom’s drink and she let me. From that time on, every time we went back to Ikoyi club, I would always order a Chapman drink with any meal I was having. For the longest time, I had no idea that Chapman was a mixed drink; assuming childishly that Chapman was an actual non-alcoholic drink poured from a bottle and served, especially since it was sometimes referred to as ‘Fanta Chapman” (a version of the Fanta soda that was quite the hit in Nigeria back in the day). I found out years later though that the Chapman cocktail is a mixed drink, and since I am able to make mine at home, I have been liberated from searching high and low for a bottle of this glorious nectar .

Who Invented This?

The true origin of Nigerian chapman is unknown but rumours of its inception are traced to the same Ikoyi club mentioned in my story above. Ikoyi club is rumoured to have invented the chapman cocktail way back in the 30’s where a bartender made the drink for his regular customer, a British member of the club known only as Chapman. The Chapman cocktail since then until now has been traditionally served in a dimpled mug as a sophisticated non-alcoholic drink.

Two glasses of Chapman Drink on table

How to Make Chapman

Chapman drink is typically made with grenadine syrup or a blackcurrant drink concentrate (usually Ribena), orange soda (usually Fanta), lemon-lime soda (usually Sprite or 7-Up), angostura bitters, and garnished with citrus fruits and cucumber slices. My version will show how to make Chapman using some natural alternatives to these drinks, and while this Chapman drink is  by no means a low calorie substitute, it has less chemicals and no artificial coloring but tastes just as good!

Unfortunately, all the grenadine syrups that I had access to had high fructose corn syrup in it, so I opted for the blackcurrant drink concentrate. I substituted the orange soda for sparkling orange juice, and instead of the lemon-lime soda, I used sparkling lemonade and limeade. The angostura bitters, citrus fruits and cucumber slices remained the same.

Main Ingredients

  • 1 liter chilled sparkling orange juice
  • 1 liter chilled sparkling lemonade
  • 1 liter chilled sparkling limeade
  • 0.25 liter chilled black currant juice concentrate
  • A couple of dashes of angostura bitters probably about 20-25 (about 3 tablespoons; see alcohol explanation below for more info) for this amount
  • 1 orange sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon sliced into rounds
  • 1 grapefruit sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 a cucumber sliced into rounds

Add Fruit Slices

In a large pitcher, place all your sliced grapefruit,  lemon and orange fruits and cucumber slices.

Sliced Fruits in a glass dispenser

Mix Soda and Concentrates

Pour the black currant juice concentrate, sparkling orange juice, sparkling lemonade, and sparkling limeade over the fruits using the following simple ratio to make this drink according to your serving size:

Pour the black currant juice concentrate, sparkling orange juice, sparkling lemonade, and sparkling limeade over

the fruits using the following simple ratio to make this drink according to your serving size:

2 parts sparkling orange juice

2 parts sparkling lemonade

hands pouring orange soda and limeade into jar

2 parts sparkling limeade

pouring the black currant into jar

1/2 part blackcurrant drink concentrate

A couple of dashes of angostura bitters

Adding angostura bitters to the Nigerian chapman drink

Add in the dashes of angostura bitters

Stir lightly

Enjoy! This drink is best served chilled over ice.

2 glasses of Nigerian Chapman Drink on table

Frequently Asked Questions

Since publishing this chapman cocktail, I’ve gotten quite a number of questions about  this recipe, especially about the use of angostura bitters and alcohol content (some even in the comments below), so I’ll just put my answers here!

Are Angostura bitters alcoholic?

Yes angostura bitters by itself contains alcohol, amounting to about 44.7% ABV (meaning alcohol by volume). It is commonly used in Chapman cocktails not because of its alcohol content but due to its unique flavor that lends a touch of bitterness to drinks and foods. As a comparison, one could compare it to vanilla extract which contains 35% alcohol but is used in cakes and bakes for its vanilla flavor. If you use the standard measure of a dash to be about 1/8 of a teaspoon, that would place the amount of angostura bitters dashes recommended for this recipe (20-24) at about 3 teaspoons which is literally equal to a tablespoon of angostura bitters (1 tablespoon equals exactly 3 teaspoons in volume). Of course as always, it will depend on the size of the ratio of angostura bitters to the liquid, but it will take a lot to change this chapman cocktail from its non-alcoholic drink status.

Does Chapman Contain Alcohol?

While Nigerian Chapman is in its standard form, a non-alcoholic drink, it technically does contain alcohol for the reasons elaborated above. Angostura bitters are quite intense and concentrated so their utility in a regular Chapman cocktail to add just a touch of bitterness requires a quantity too low to turn a Chapman drink ‘alcoholic’ (of course it goes without saying that the alcohol in classic Chapman drink can be increased by significantly increasing the volume of angostura bitters, but that in my opinion, would be a different drink entirely).

In this recipe for example, the total volume of liquid adds up to about 3.5 liters, which as we calculated above, requires only a tablespoon of angostura bitters. A teaspoon contains approximately, a volume of only 0.015 liters or 15 ml, which means we have one part angostura bitters to more than 200 parts liquid (3.5/0.015 = 233 for the more mathematically inclined… isn’t math fun? Lol!). Now considering the ABV for angostura  is 44.7%, even if we were to stretch that amount to 100% meaning 1 liter of angostura is 100% alcoholic (remember, that’s a stretch…it’s actually about half), we would have an alcohol content of (0.015/3.5) * 100, making 0.4% Alcohol by Volume. But since it’s half, the actual value is more like 0.2%.  Now for context check out what else out there contains even more than that amount of alcohol (ethanol to be precise) and is considered non-alcoholic?

  • 2 brands of grape juice – 0.77%, 0.86%
  • A brand of apple juice – 0.66%
  • 2 brands of orange juice – 0.72%, 0.73%
  • Malt drink beverages (soft) – 2%
  • Vinegar – 2.64%
  • Burger rolls, American style – 1.28% [1]…etc

I think the point is made. Many Western countries such as the EU utilize the range of 0.05 – 1.2% as their definition of alcohol free, while most like the US, UK, Sweden, Denmark have it as 0.5% . So you can feel free to enjoy this non-alcoholic Chapman drink without worry; however, just in case some of you still have reservations…

What’s a Substitute for Angostura Bitters in Chapman?

You can try pure vanilla extract (not vanilla essence), since the angostura bitters in Nigerian Chapman as discussed above affords it some level of bitterness, but it will have a different flavor. You could also boil some bitter herbs and use the extracted liquid from that. Again, you can expect a different flavor, but I encourage you to play around with it to see what tastes best to you. What we’re looking for is that touch of bitter flavor. Feel free to experiment!

A cup of Nigerian Chapman Drink
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4.67 from 3 votes

Nigerian Chapman Drink Recipe

Nigeria's favorite non-alcoholic cocktail, this Nigerian chapman drink is a version of the refreshing beverage with more natural alternatives but the same great taste!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Nigerian
Servings: 13 people
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Yummy Medley

Ingredients

  • 1 liter chilled sparkling orange juice
  • 1 liter chilled sparkling lemonade
  • 1 liter chilled sparkling limeade
  • 0.25 liter chilled black currant juice concentrate Ribena for instance
  • A couple of dashes of angostura bitters probably about 20-25 for this amount
  • 1 orange sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon sliced into rounds
  • 1 grape fruit sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 a cucumber sliced into rounds

Instructions

  • In a large pitcher, place all you sliced fruits.
  • Pour the black currant juice concentrate, sparkling orange juice, sparkling lemonade, and sparkling limeade over the fruits.
  • Add in the dashes of angostura bitters, stir lightly and serve chilled over ice.

Notes

For the drink to be extra chilled, slice the citrus fruits then freeze them for a couple of hours before making the drink. I do not freeze the cucumbers.

If you  enjoyed this Nigerian chapman cocktail and are looking for other refreshing summer drinks why not try this ginger spiked pineapple juice recipe or another Nigerian favorite: Hibiscus Iced Tea: Zobo with a Twist?

References

  1. Gorgus, Eva et al. “Estimates of Ethanol Exposure in Children from Food not Labeled as Alcohol-Containing.” Journal of analytical toxicology vol. 40,7 (2016): 537-42. doi:10.1093/jat/bkw046

19 Comments

  • Reply
    Precious @ Precious Core
    July 18, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Goodness! I want to dive in and drink. I’ve been hearing so many good things about Chapman. Thanks for the healthier alternative.

    • Reply
      Ms. Yum
      July 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

      You are welcome Precious, I have been trying to make better choices, so even though this is not a skinny drink, it is definitely less “chemically”.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    July 24, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Based on your recipe, about how many people can be served? I really want to serve this at an event so I’m trying to get a rough estimate. Thank you for your help!

    • Reply
      Ms. Yum
      July 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Stephanie! It should serve at least 10 people if each person gets an 8 oz cup (the stemless wine glass above held 8 ounces with ice). When I made this recipe I was able to serve 7 people and they had several servings each. It is always best to have more drinks that less, unless you plan on limiting the serving, it is best to make more rather than less since people usually have multiple drink servings. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Onyinyechi
    February 2, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Based on your recipe, is there any alternative to the bitters and can Chapman be packaged for commercial purpose
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Lois
      February 5, 2018 at 9:49 am

      You can try pure vanilla extract (not vanilla essence), but it will give a different flavor. You could also boil some bitter herbs and use the extracted liquid from that. Again, it will give a different flavor, but I encourage you to play around with it to see what tastes best to you.

  • Reply
    Ruqoyyah
    April 6, 2018 at 6:40 am

    can Chapman be made without d bitters…said dis cos of dose who don’t take alcohol. Thanks for d above info

    • Reply
      Lois
      April 8, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      You can definitely omit the bitters. It will only have a slightly different flavor, but it will still be great!

    • Reply
      Bambitious
      June 29, 2019 at 11:27 am

      I really love this

  • Reply
    Nifemi
    June 30, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Hii…Nice Work. Please for commercial purpose like selling in bottles, is it advisable for the citrus fruits and cucumber be sliced in it? And without preservatives how long can the drink last.. Would be expecting your feedback… Thanks.

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      July 6, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Hello Nifemi, I do not make Chapman for commercial purposes so I do not know how it would be preserved. I do know that with this recipe, it should last about 1 week in the fridge. I usually think it is best to make food without preservatives, and fresh food is usually quickly perishable.

  • Reply
    mariam
    July 31, 2018 at 7:13 am

    thanks so much for the recipe,pls what is limeade and lemonade,is it readily available at the market?

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      August 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      Hey Mariam! Sparkling limeade and lemonade are lemon and lime drinks similar to 7up and sprite, just less processed. I am not sure if they are available in Nigeria, but you can always use 7up or Sprite and add a little more lemon and lime juice.

  • Reply
    Boyd Kobe
    December 24, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Gorgeous looking mocktail! It sounds so delicious too. Can’t wait to try these, everyone will love them.

    • Reply
      Lois
      January 24, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      They are absolutely delicious honestly. I hope you like them!

  • Reply
    Gwegwe Nathan Izi
    January 19, 2019 at 3:50 am

    4 stars
    Hi..
    Most say this article was really helpful –
    Since I had a taste of chapman I’ve been craving for it anywhere I could get it, my friend almost thinks I’m addicted to it- personally, I don’t care much ☺..
    Now I believe I can make it readily available whenever I want it.. Thank you again-

    • Reply
      Lois
      January 24, 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Happy to help Gwegwe!

  • Reply
    Tami Price
    February 7, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    5 stars
    We had a group of friends over and made these! Amazing! Love all the natural ingredients made for a bold, delicious flavor! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    February 7, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    5 stars
    Oh my heavens that drunk looks delicious! I’m loving the ingredients and just how refreshing it seems! Definitely saving this recipe!

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