hibiscus (Flor de Jamaica)

Steeping hibiscus flowers in water makes a refreshing tart tea with a deep red tint. Here’s how to make it, and some ideas for how to make it more interesting.

½-1 cup flowers
4 cups water
¼ cup raw honey

  • Rinse ½-1 c hibiscus in cold water
  • Combine the hibiscus and 1 quart of water in a pot and bring to a boil
  • As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes, turn off heat, and let steep for another 15-30.
  • Strain the tea. Then, while it’s still hot, add your sweetener (sugar, honey or agave) to the tea and stir to dissolve. 
  • Adjust by diluting with more cold water if need be.

Make it into punch: I often add straight pomegranate juice to this tea to turn it into a punch. Add citrus slices and pomegranate seeds. Keep going, and add a squeeze of orange, lemon, or lime.

Make it a cocktail: If a cocktail is what you’re after, consider the fact that it’s common in parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and Mexico when choosing your ingredients. Add ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and clove to the water as you steep it to add some warm spice, and mix it with rum, ginger beer, and lime if you're channeling something Jamaican. Add mescal or tequila and lime if you're feeling something, Mexican.

Make it a syrup: To make a more concentrated hibiscus syrup, use 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and ½ cup flowers. Bring sugar and water to a boil, turn off the heat, add the hibiscus and let steep for 15 minutes or up to an hour. Strain. 

To make straight cold brew hibiscus tea:

To make the chilled hibiscus tea, put ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers in a quart-sized ball jar. Fill with cold filtered water. Refrigerate for 8 hours. Strain. Discard solids. Keep cold.