Here’s a quick one for the weekend: hibiscus flower agua fresca – the most vibrantly colored summer drink since the invention of “Red #40”, just redder and better for you, no artificial coloring agents involved; just dried, rehydrated and steeped hibiscus flowers, that’s all there is to it. In Mexico, where this drink is from, hibiscus flowers are called flores de jamaica, funnily enough in Denmark the same flowers are called hawaii flowers – I guess one exotic place is just as good as the next when you’re living far enough away…
Agua de Jamaica
makes about 1.25 l (5 cups)
60 g (2 cups) dried hibiscus flowers
180 g (3/4 cup) sugar
1.5 l (6 cups) water
1. Put the flowers, sugar and water into a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and boil the mix for a minute.
3. Remove from the heat and let the flowers steep for 2 hours if you can; you’re patience will be rewarded.
4. Strain and press on the flowers to extract all the juice.
5. Chill, pour over ice and serve with a slice (or a squeeze) of lime.
Note: this makes a light, if very flavorful syrup. I like to mix mine with some water before pouring it over ice; the kids like it “straight up”.