Flower Power: 5 Refreshing Hibiscus Beverages

May 3, 2011

Hibiscus Flowers

With summer and Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, it's hard not to look forward to days of lemonade, block parties, barbecues and picnics. Take the first step towards summer with these hibiscus-based refreshments!

Aguas Fresca Jamaica
Serves 4-6

A refreshing summer beverage, Mexican aguas fresca are meant to be lightly sweet (not like soda or juice) and are the perfect way to beat the heat! Naturally non-alcoholic, in the Caribbean, rum is a common addition - as is the substitution of cane or brown sugar, depending on region.

3 quarts filtered water
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
2 cups dried hibiscus flowers (aka Flor de Jamaica)
2 cups or sugar, divided
Juice of 1 lime

In a sauce pan, bring water and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the hibiscus blossoms and 1 cup of sugar until the sugar has entirely dissolved. Let steep 15 minutes, until water is a rich, deep red. Add remaining sugar to taste.

Strain into a pitcher or serving container. Add lime juice and refrigerate until cool. Serve over ice.

Michael Manahan's Botany Bay, featuring gin, St. Germain and hibiscus syrup.
Hibiscus Sangria
Hibiscus Basil Lemonade, naturally non-alcoholic - but you can fix that in an ounce!
Hibiscus Mint Rum Granita
Hibiscus Mulled Cider

Photo by ratna rajaiah