Monday, July 23, 2012

Agua de jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea)

I can thank my friend Jessica for turning me on to this deep-red, delicious summer quencher, which is a super-simple infusion of dried hibiscus (jamaica) flowers in lightly sugared water, with a squeeze o' lime. There are a few Mexican grocers in my area, so coming across cheap bags of the blossoms isn't hard at all, but you can easily order them online if you can't find them locally. I liken the flavor to floral cranberry juice, so if you're an admirateur of a good tarty pucker like me, you'll want to have a cold jug of this in your fridge at all times. It makes an excellent base for cocktails, too. I've yet to find a good use for the reconstituted blossoms...I've saved them for dotting on top of the drink glasses, frozen them in water for decorative ice cubes, but that's about it. Something about the texture is throwing me off from using them in edible contexts, but I do hate to throw them all away. If you have a good use for them, let me know!

Agua de jamaica
Makes about 5 cups

*5 cups water
*1/2-2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be
*1 heaping cup dried hibiscus (jamaica) blossoms
*1/2 of a small lime, juiced

Combine the water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the blossoms, cover, remove from heat and let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain well, stir in the lime juice, and chill thoroughly in the fridge.

Blossoming interest


  1. I've heard you can deep fry the spent flowers for a nice garnish, and via Rick Bayliss, there is a restaurant in Mexico City that utilizes them as enchilada filling. Also, did I tell you my mom actually grows the flowers in her backyard?

  2. haha, of COURSE she does! That's awesome. Man, I don't know about enchilada filling, though. I know I should trust R.B. but they are so unappetizingly...chewy...once reconstituted. I'll be sticking to garnish use, most likely!

    (I'm assuming that I'm speaking to Jessica, btw ;) )