Exotic Drinks Produced in Kent – New Maker Hermina Lartey from Korko speaks to Todelli

Today we are featuring a new series of drinks produced in Kent but with exotic flavours.

“I’m going back to reclaim valuables from the past to use in the future” – Hermina Lartey from KORKO speaks to Todelli and shares her journey so far.

After her relocation to the United Kingdom, she was fascinated by the diversity of international cuisine but also realised the absence of African tasty flavours. 

The Founder of KORKO from Ghana talks to Todelli about how she decided to introduce her favourite childhood food and drinks into the British market, what recipes inspired her. She also gives her very own version of a delicious watermelon mocktail to try at home!

Korko Exotic African Drinks – Todelli

Korko Exotic African Drinks – Todelli

How did you come up with the idea of Korko food & drinks?

Moving to England years ago from my country of origin in Ghana, West Africa, I was thrilled by the diverse range (Mediterranean, Caribbean, Japanese, Canadian) of foods I discovered on the British market.  

Soon, I became glued to TV food channels as they became as more and more of an eye-opening source of information on how different continental dishes and drinks are prepared and how varying techniques are sometimes added on to make them appealing to British taste buds. I next became keen to try new flavours and experiment making them sometimes.  

However, being a foodie myself I was if not very, quite disappointed, to find a big absence of African artisan creations on this buzzing exciting British and European food market. Knowing first hand the tasty meals and flavours that we have in Africa, I decided to create KORKO. Our logo carries the emblem of a bird looking backwards. This is the “Sankofa” bird an “Adinkra” symbol of the people of Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa. Sankofa symbolises going back to reclaim valuables from the past to use in the future. This is what KORKO stands for, creating classic artisan food and drinks using passed down traditional African recipes. Our products are made to a fine finish to suite European palette. 

What recipes inspired you?

In retrospect, growing up in Ghana I was subconsciously often drawn to the preparation and selling of food. I will often sit under either a mango or almond tree on my grandmother’s compound and pretend to play street food vendors with my cousins after school using tiny cooking utensils playsets, sand, leaves, stones and twigs. At a specific time every afternoon, we will hear the heckling of popular traditional ginger and lemon mobile vendor out in the street. As kids, we found the heckling phrases very amusing and we will often burst into laughter mimicking him. The firing heat from the chillies and ginger and the sweetness from the sugar underpinned with the tanginess of the lemons made this drink very irresistible. This created an effortless act on our behalf as children to save some of our pockets to buy what has now become one of my favourite childhood African drinks.   

Have you ever used your drinks in a cocktail or mocktail yourself?

It’s true that our drinks are not only perfect to drink on their own but they also perfectly serve as a mixer. Please let me introduce you to the recipe for my favourite KORKO Watermelon Fancy mocktail/cocktail. 

KORKO exotic drinks - Watermelon Fancy mocktail cocktail

KORKO exotic drinks – Watermelon Fancy mocktail cocktail

What you will need: 

1/2 a slice of watermelon 

 1x 250ml bottle of KORKO African ginger and lemon drink (Mild or Hot) 

150ml chilled unsweetened sparkling water 

1 tablespoon of honey or sweetener of your choice 

A handful of ice cubes 

A splash of vodka if you are making a cocktail 

How to make it: 

Wash your watermelon and slice into half 

Further slice into quarters, deseed it with a fork and chop and place in a blender 

Add the handful of ice cubes, a tablespoon of honey and blend till smooth and pour into a jug 

Add your KORKO Ginger and Lemon drink 

Stir in 150ml chilled unsweetened sparkling water 

Add a splash of vodka if you are making a cocktail 

Voila! Enjoy!