Ruby red with a bright sour flavor reminiscent of rose hips (think Red Zinger tea), hibiscus flowers or Jamaica as it is known in Mexico, this is a refreshing and beautiful drink to brew up in the hot months. It is, in fact, filled to the brim with vitamin C and is believed to have diuretic properties to boot. Serve it on ice with a shot of Simple Syrup to sweeten.
Cook to Cook: According to our friend, Mexican chef Pati Jinich of PBS’s Pati’s Mexican Table, the hibiscus flowers need to be simmered, not just steeped like tea. The flowers have not been processed like tea, so they need some additional encouragement to release their full flavor.
Holds in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days.
1. Combine the hibiscus flowers with 1 quart of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat, cool and strain. Dilute with another 3 to 4 cups of water, then add simple syrup to taste. Serve in glasses filled with ice.
From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.
Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.