Agua de Jamaica: Fresh Hibiscus Flower Drink

This recipe it totally inspired by my travels through Central America; like Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. I drank the Agua de Jamaica (Hah-my-ka) with a lunch menu and as a refreshment in the afternoon. I even drank it mixed with Mexican Mezcal as a cocktail!! It has a cranberry like flavor, taste fresh and looks very beautiful!! The cold drink is made of dried or fresh Hibiscus flowers or sometimes called Roselle; you can prepare it as a hot tea as well. I bought a bag of the dried Hibiscus flowers for 1US$ in El Salvador. Hibiscus helps to lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels (if you don’t add too much sugar of course), contribute to a healthy liver, they say it helps reducing menstrual cramps and with depressions. It’s rich in vitamin C and contains important minerals; so a healthy option in your diet. I love to drink this Agua de Jamaica on a hot summers day as cold refreshment and gives me the holiday feeling at the same time!!!

What do you need for 6 long drink glasses of Agua de Jamaica?

  • 30 min preparation time
  • Time to cool off the extract in the fridge (±1,5-2 hours)
  • Glasses to serve the drinks
  • Coffee cup to measure (± 150 ml)
  • (Glass) jar to collect the extract
  • Strainer
  • Steel pan

Ingredients

  • Hibiscus Flowers dried: 2 cups (bring from Latin America, buy online or in specialized shops)
  • Water to boil: 4 cups
  • Sugar or Honey: 4 tablespoons (add more if you like it more sweet)
  • Cinnamon: 1 stick or 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
  • Optional Ginger: 3 slices
  • Add water to the extract to finish the drink in the proportion: ¼ hibiscus extract vs ¾ water and ice.

Put all the ingredients in the steel pan except the lemon juice. Bring it to boil and if boiling turn down the gas and boil for 10 more minutes. Stir now and then and make sure the sugar is dissolved. Turn of the heat, add the lemon juice and leave the extract for another 15 minutes in the pan. Then separate the soaked hibiscus flowers by pouring the liquid through a strainer into a (glass) jar.

Tip: Be careful, the extract is deep red and could make stains on your clothing; use an apron for protection!

Put the jar aside and let the Jamaica extract cool off; put in the refrigerator to fasten the process. The basis is now ready to use!! Divide among the glasses and add water to your needs and if you like it sweeter add more sugar, but preferably not of course. Decorate it to make it a real tropical Jamaica drink!!

Tip: You can keep the Jamaica extract in the refrigerator for a couple of days, this way you don’t need to drink all at once.

Tip: Use sparking water instead op plain water, this makes it a bit more sparking. And go crazy and add the Belizean rum and drink it as a cocktail!!

 

Enjoy your typical summer Agua the Jamaica drink!!

 

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