I've been a huge fan of hibiscus flowers long before I actually knew what they were. The first time I tried them, I didn't even know it - they were in tea. Yup, hibiscus flowers show up in a lot of herbal teas, adding red color and a fruity sort of flavor.
The flavor reminds me of a mix of raspberry and lemon - a little sweet, a little fruity, and a little tart.
You can find them in their dried form in Mexican stores, where they're called jamaica (ha-my-ka). Sometimes I see them in the Mexican aisle in my regular grocery store, too.
And now, thanks to The Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, there are hibiscus flowers in syrup. The syrup was my favorite part, but I thought the flowers made a really pretty garnish.
I thought the syrup would be a great addition to lemonade and of course the flowers would be the perfect garnish.
This is an alcohol-free beverage - a mocktail, if you prefer, that would be just as welcome at a cocktail party as it would be at a picnic. Of course, if you wanted to add a touch of vodka to turn it into an actual cocktail, that would be fine, too.
For the sparkling water, I used a soda siphon to make my own, but you could use bottled sparkling water, club soda, tonic water, or even a lemon-lime soda. But if you choose something sweetened, omit the agave - you probably won't need the added sweetness.
Sparkling Hibiscus Lemonade
By Donna Currie, Cookistry
1 Tablespoon hibiscus syrup (from jar of hibiscus flowers in syrup)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup
Sparkling water (or soda) to fill glass
1 hibiscus flower for garnish
Combine the hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, and agave in a glass. Fill with sparkling water and stir. Add the hibiscus flower. Serve.
You can, of course, add ice, if you like. But if the sparkling water is cold, you might not need it, depending on how chilled you like your beverages.
The larger your glass, the more diluted your flavors will be, so adjust as you like. And adjust the sweetness, tartness, too.