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Chris Amirault

Hibiscus (aka Jamaica) in Mixed Drinks

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Rafa   

It's great for winter drinks, as its dominant flavors are very warm notes from cinnamon and clove along with the hibiscus.

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FauxPas   

There was some earlier discussion of the difficulty of finding dried hibiscus flowers and I'm not sure if anyone is still interested, but I did happen to be looking at Republic of Tea recently and saw that they sell a tea that is mostly full-leaf hibiscus. Below is info from their site, the tea is $40/lb which seemed pricey to me, but maybe not to others?

INGREDIENTS

Hibiscus (flower), sweet blackberry leaves and stevia

CALORIES

0

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

South Africa

http://www.republicoftea.com/natural-hibiscus-full-leaf-loose-herb-tea/p/V10003/

I'm guessing that other tea-sellers may carry hibiscus as well. My apologies if this is not relevant to the current discussion. :smile:

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FauxPas   

I know I've seen the sorrel flowers in caribbean and latin markets.

Gotcha. I also know how many times I have come home from a market and two weeks later said, 'Damn, I wish I had picked up some of those X, Y or Z items' that are never around otherwise. Heh. :smile:

Still thinking about that Sorel by JFB. Sounds good. And looks beautiful.

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Thanks to everyone who weighed in here.

I ended up making ~3 liters of a hibiscus base, starting with a heated infusion of flowers, water, fresh ginger slices, cinnamon & canela sticks, allspice, clove, and three sweeteners (demerara, white, and raw agave nectar). This had to be non-alcoholic as it was the base for both a tequila punch and a simple drink 1:1 with seltzer for kids and non-drinking adults.

To make the punch, I dumped 750 ml of Milagro blanco tequila over the spent shells of 8 limes and 3 clementines (reserving the juice), along with one lemon's pith-free peel, and let that sit while I mixed up the rest: ~8 oz Smith & Cross rum, ~4 oz Cruzan blackstrap rum, ~12 dashes of Angostura, ~12 dashes of a grapefruit tincture I had on hand, and ~1/4 cup of a pineapple relish I made for Xmas dinner. After squeezing out the citrus shells and straining everything into the bowl, I added 750 ml of the punch base, a liter of seltzer, and a block of ice.

I go into all this useless detail merely to say that the hibiscus handled it all expertly. I had to make some adjustments as I went along, but it's really an accommodating punch base. The one ingredient that I think tied it all together was the blackstrap, but you could probably sub in a tiny amount of molasses, or very dark caramel syrup.

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