• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Amirault

Hibiscus (aka Jamaica) in Mixed Drinks

56 posts in this topic

Well, I guess I'll add lime cordial to the list of homemade syrups to make, right after orgeat and falernum! :biggrin:

(BTW, and I hope this isn't too pedantic, but "fleur" is a feminine noun in French, so it should be La Fleur Rouge.)


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly I didn't take French! :raz:

I'll fix the typo on the next menu, thanks...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the benefit of anyone wondering about the "thickening" quality of hibiscus, let me remind you that, biologically, it's related to okra, ergo the musciliganius (sp?) quality of the juice.


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen hibiscus syrup in two bars:

At The Violet Hour in Chicago, one of my favorite drinks is the Summer Old Fashioned (a classic OF with hibiscus syrup). They also use it in a very tasty drink they call the Eyes Wide (Bulleit Bourbon, Grapefruit, Ginger Juice, Raspberry Syrup, Hibiscus Syrup).

At Le Bar du Plaza Athénée in Paris, they have a section of the menu devoted to drinks made with hibiscus syrup. Here's a picture. I had the Rose de Chine...a sort of hibiscus mule. I'm not normally a vodka drinker, but the muddled fresh ginger and the addition of the delicious flowery syrup was worth it.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally got around to making some Jamaica syrup over the weekend..

used one cup of flowers to 3 cups of water. Brought it up to a boil, then steeped for two hours. I then strained that. At this point, I still had not added any sugar. I took one cup of the brewed 'tea' and added 1 cup sugar. Brought it up to a boil, then let it cool. I had my hibiscus syrup (the remainder was sweetened enough to make tasty glass of 'agua refreseca de jamaica')

Now, onto cocktails.. My first try was simply to add a squirt to my regular margarita. It was OK. But after that, I made a simple substitution. I simply used the jamaica syrup instead of the Cointreau. I am not sure what to call this, but I thought it was pretty tasty. If I had some champagne or sparkling wine on hand, I would try cocktailgeek's French 75 riff. I would also like to try out mkayahara's drink that uses the Appleton rum.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just returned from Asia with a bottle of Vietnamese "Hibiscus Brandy". There's no English on the bottle anywhere, but the menu at the restaurant where I bought it (they make all of their own liquors/liqueurs, also brought back a somewhat abrasive-compared to Apry-Apricot eau-de-vie) said it was simply, "Clear brandy distilled from Hibiscus flowers." I'd put the proof at around 80 (again, nothing on the label to indicate this, just my best guess). I'm assuming it's a rice-based product. It has an inherently floral note, but it's not at all overpowering, or even at the forefront.

Any suggestions for use?


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been looking everywhere for a good source for WHOLE dried hibiscus flowers so I can recreate THIS at a non-usurious price for my guests. If anyone has a good source for whole, non-crumbled or mistreated hibiscus flowers, please let me know. There's no doubt this can be done on one's own, without having to pay $1/flower.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in the Caribbean we call it sorrel and it's traditional at Christmastime. I have a bottle in my refrigerator now and a supply of dried sorrel for making another batch before Christmas. Rum is often added after the first steeping but I usually leave that out so it's kid-friendly and then make cocktails with the sorrel for the grownups. We make it fairly rich and syrupy so it needs to be diluted before drinking if there's no rum in it.

I serve it three ways. First way is as a liqueur (if it has rum) after dinner or in the afternoon with a thin slice of really rummy black cake. Or, if it's non-alcoholic, I dilute it with club soda or water and serve it over ice. Very refreshing. Or I make a cocktail with rum and a splash of club soda...serve on the rocks with a squeeze of lime. All are fantastic.

My recipe for making sorrel is here.

I also used sorrel to make a sorrel and sorghum glaze for my Thanksgiving ham this year and it was lovely. That recipe is here.

I would think any shop that catered to a Latin American or Caribbean clientele would carry dried sorrel flowers, especially at this time of the year.


Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically, I see jamaica in a good sized bag of flowers, for a few bucks a bag. I'm guessing you've gone through those bags and there aren't many per bag that would work for you? The only alternative to sorting that comes to mind - would it be possible for you to source flowers in volume when they are in season and dry the flowers yourself? Given that you're drying them, you may be able to get them when they're past what's salable by florists?

I'd like to second the idea that jamaica pairs with margarita flavors. I made some jamaica sorbet and it seemed to benefit from some fresh lime juice. From there a little tequila to, uh, help the texture while freezing (yeah, that's the ticket!) seemed like a natural move. The result was great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dried Jamaica available at my local Mexican markets is crumbled and in pieces. Maybe I'll see if a Carribean market has better ones. Thanks for the suggestion.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make a hibiscus syrup at my bar too. I like to shake a margarita and drizzle the syrup on top. It's a nice presentation with the syrup slowly dissolving as it sinks to the bottom. The flavor is a great substitute for cranberry.

Ricky :D

ps. Jamaica (ha-mai-kuh) was confusing people when we told them what it is, so we just call it hibiscus now. Haha.


Striving for cocktailian excellence and always learning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found a Caribbean/African market in West Philly that had bags of dried "sorrel flowers" for CHEAP, and they appear to be in relatively good condition. I bought one small bag (for $1.79) and have brought it home. Some time over the next few nights I will make a hibiscus syrup from the broken flowers and rehydrate the whole ones. Anyone have any suggestions on whether I should rehydrate the whole flowers in the syrup, or in warm water first and then transfer them? I thought I could make the syrup by putting the broken bits into a giant 9cm tea ball and then be able to fish it all out easily. Should I boil the hibiscus for the syrup in water and THEN add the sugar, or should I just boil the bits right into a simple syrup? So many questions and chemistry was never my strong suit. If anyone has some ideas, please let me know. I'd love to make those lovely Hibiscus Champagne cocktails for New Year's Eve...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katie - this is how we make sorrel drink in the Caribbean:

Sorrel Drink

You can usually find dried sorrel in shops that sell West Indian products or in Latin shops, where it may be called flor de jamaica. Feel free to play with the spicing according to your personal preference. To make Mexican agua de jamaica, omit all the spices and use 2 cups of sorrel/jamaica, 2 quarts of water and 3/4 of a cup of sugar. It will only need to steep for about half an hour.

3 cups of dried sorrel

a one inch piece of ginger, peeled

one or two pieces of orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

1 1/2 cups of sugar

Put the ingredients in a large pitcher and pour in 6 cups of boiling water. Cover the pitcher and let the drink stand at room temperature overnight. Refrigerate for another 2 days. Strain through a fine sieve and put in a clean bottle and refrigerate. At this point you can add a quarter to a half a cup of rum and then let it steep again for 3 days or so. Serve over ice, diluted to taste with water or club soda, or rum to taste.

I've never rehydrated the whole flowers but would probably try it after the drink has been made so they don't overhydrate.

Good luck!


Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abigail:

Thanks for that. I'll try that another time. It's not the drink I'm trying to recreate, but a pure hibiscus simple syrup with the rehydrated flowers within. I'm attempting to recreate THESE myself, at a far more reasonable price. The idea of paying over $1 per flower makes my blood run cold. I make many of my other mixers myself, I can't imagine this would be any different. It just doesn't seem that complex.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katie - I don't know if they have Trader Joe's in Philly, or if TJ's still carries these (since they are so weird about their inventory), but I've bought "dried sweetened hibiscus" there before. They're primarily whole flowers (a few of them were broken), lightly sweetened, texture sort of similar to fruit leather. I don't know why I never thought of using them as a substitute for those Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup -- which I keep eyeing, and never buy because of the price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never worked with whole flowers. For making hibiscus simple syrup, I first steeped dehydrated broken flowers in warm water, strained and then added sugar to the "tea" to make syrup.

For what you're trying to accomplish, you may have two different applications on your hands: 1) re-hydrating the whole flowers and 2) making hibiscus simple syrup. Conflating the two probably isn't the best idea. I guess the left over water from step 1 might be of some use in step 2, but I don't think you're going to get much flavor out of the hibiscus without heat, and I don't think you want to heat the whole flowers.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trader Joe's was my very first attempt. I Googled for "dried hibiscus flowers" and found several mentions of the TJ version. Alas, having called both local outposts, it seems they just don't carry them anymore. At least not around here, and they made it sound fairly final. :sad:

Thanks for the advice KD1191. I think you're right about not heating the whole flowers. I think I'll make the first pass in the manner you've suggested. I'll report back after I've had a chance to try it...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katie - I looked at what I have in the house to see if I had any but the flowers have been separated down into individual leaves. We usually get beautiful whole flowers in the local supermarket this time of year but nothing yet. Good luck with your hunt.


Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abigail:

Thanks for checking for me! Awfully kind of you. My understanding is that the flowers are in season around Christmas, but I suppose that's only in the warm zones where they're native, not up here in frozen Philadelphia. I was hoping maybe the Carribean market might have them if they were some sort of traditional holiday decoration, but I found only the dried ones, albeit better dried ones than I'd found previously. I guess this really is a bit more complex than I'd wagered - the complex part being finding the whole flowers in any form where I live or online.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bump.

I'm trying to figure this out for a party in a few days. I'm leaning toward some form of a margarita base that includes a gingery, spicy hibiscus element. I also want it to be carbonated if possible.

If anyone has any thoughts on this idea or anything else, I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks in advance.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorel by Jack From Brooklyn is a delicious spiced hibiscus liqueur with strong cinnamon and ginger notes. It pairs with everything. Its distribution may be limited to the NYC area, but DrinkUpNY can deliver it. It could sub for or complement the orange liqueur/ginger beer elements in your Margarita highball idea (which sounds a bit like a spicier Dove & Daisy).

You could also look to Toby Cecchini's Fitty Spot for inspiration; he pairs hibiscus tea with Jamaican spices, pineapple and tangerine juices, and rich rum.


Edited by Rafa (log)
1 person likes this

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

El Centro DF in DC makes a drink called the Red & Smokey. It's pretty excellent - Vida Mezcal, jalapeño-ginger syrup, lime juice, and generous amount of agua de jamaica, served on the rocks in a pint glass.


Edited by Hassouni (log)
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason, Dan Murphy's chain liquor stores here sells jars of hibiscus flowers in syrup. I have no idea what people use them for.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jarritos makes a hibiscus soda that is really great but it seems to be the hardest flavor to find. MEMs, the tea importer makes a hibiscus blend that is awesome to make syrups from. They used to bill it as something Asian and used to call it Wu-Wei but I think it is more of a Caribbean thing.

So many years ago we used me a make a sloppy high ball called the Velouria that was hibiscus infused spirit plus aloe soda. The concept was cool but our execution was terrible and I always wanted to revisit it now that I'm so much better at making things.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I'm remembering, there was even a hot drink based on MEM's hibiscus tea that was boozed up with blended scotch, linie aquavit, and an alpine spruce tree honey was black like molasses and piny. The hot "Yaffe".


Edited by bostonapothecary (log)
1 person likes this

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Darienne
      Pannukakku has become a new favorite in the McAuley household. (LCBO Food & Wine, winter season 2016).  We've been using Maple Syrup...made with DH's help in a local sugar shack...but the recipe actually calls for birch syrup.

      Does anyone know where to buy it in Ontario?  Any grocery stores carry it?  Specialty stores?  Toronto? What about in the Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo area?
       
      Thanks.
    • By cyalexa
      Salsa Para Enchiladas  
      3 ancho chiles
      2 New Mexico chiles
      2 chipotle chiles
      1 clove garlic, sliced
      2 TB flour
      2 TB vegetable oil
      1 tsp vinegar
      ¾ tsp salt
      ¼ tsp dried oregano
      2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
      Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
    • By JAZ
      In this topic on sweet potato salad, Jaymes said (about mayonnaise):
      I have to disagree: while some cooks here in Atlanta use it, most that I know prefer Hellman's. I certainly do. Duke's is oddly sweet -- halfway to Miracle Whip, in my opinion -- and I can pick it out immediately in things like tuna or potato salad when it's used. If I were faced with the choice of Duke's or nothing on a sandwich, I think I'd have to choose the latter.
      Am I missing something? Do people really like Duke's? Are there other brands worth trying?
    • By Jambalyle
      Hi!
      Before we launched our project, I followed Melissa's remodel thread (congrats Melissa) and links to other kitchen remodel threads and I am continually awed by the inspiration and recommendations offered by the eGullet community during those projects. I want to get a piece of that action during our remodel.
      Demolition began on June 20, with an estimated 6-month project duration. The impetus for our remodel was the addition of a master bedroom and bath to transform our tiny 2 BR 1 BA into a modest 3BR 2BA. In addition, we are transforming and expanding the back of the house to create a "great" room that will combine a new kitchen, dining and family room.
      I will post plans and initial pictures in a subsequent post to give everyone a sense of the scope of our project. But first...
      Yesterday, we met (again) with our kitchen designers and appliance people to hammer out our appliance wants, needs, and desires. Here is where we netted out:
      Range – Wolf 48” R486C (6 burner, grill), w/ Island trim (is trim necessary?)
      Hood – Independent 27” x 54” Incline INHL54SS (w/ heat lamps)
      Blower – Independent CFMR1400 (external)
      Dishwasher – Miele Platinum edition G2150SCSS
      Microwave – GE Monogram 1.0 CF Stainless ZEM200SF
      Refrigerator – GE Monogram 42” built-in Stainless w/dispenser – ZISS420DRSS
      Beverage Center – GE Monogram 24” Stainless ZDBC240NBS (we're not willing to pay $600 more for privacy glass feature!)
      Sink – Franke 30”x18”x9” Stainless under mount
      Anyway... we would love to get some reaction to our selections before they hit the SOLD key on the cash register! Thanks! -Lyle
      PS: I know the Wolf is wimpy at 16,000 BTU per burner, but are there other reasons I should reconsider?
    • By JohnT
      For those folk who have access to a fig tree or two, here is a recipe for Green Fig Preserve inherited from my fathers recipes. The resulting product is magic on buttered toast and with cheese. The figs must be picked before they ripen and soften.
      Whole Green Fig Preserve
      Ingredients:
      100 green figs
      2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
      3.4 litres water
      Method:
      Scrub the figs and cut a cross into the end opposite the stalk.
      Mix the water and bicarbonate of soda and soak the figs overnight.
      Remove from the water and weigh the figs, recording the weight.
      Place into clean boiling water and boil for 15 minutes or until just soft.
      Drain and then dry the figs well, removing excess water.
      Syrup:
      For each 500g figs or part thereof, mix 500ml water with 500g sugar.
      Boil the syrup until it just starts to thicken.
      Add the figs and boil until the syrup is thick.
      Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice for each 250g figs and just bring to the boil again before removing from the heat and letting cool.
      Bottle the figs and cover with the syrup.
      Note 1: If the syrup froths whilst boiling, add a small lump of butter.
      Note 2: A small stick of ginger can be added during the boiling process to add a slightly different flavour.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.