A few weeks back I made a hibiscus syrup for a Hibiscus Pisco Sour cocktail I created to feature the delightful Capurro Pisco. And because my Italian side is dominant when it comes to portion size, I made enough syrup to sweeten up a small village. I’ve been living in hibiscus town ever since. It’s a tarty, magenta colored dream. Come along with me, you guys. I’ll show you around!
As many folks in subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world know, hibiscus flowers are not just lovely to look at, when they are dried, they can be a delicious addition to all kinds of recipes. But they are most commonly used to brew a refreshing tea served both hot and cold and known by different names throughout the world: “Sour Tea” in Iran, “Agua de Jamaica” in Latin America, “Sorrel” throughout the Caribbean and “Karkadé” in Egypt and Sudan. This bright, tart, and tangy tea has been enjoyed for centuries, is said to have been the preferred beverage of the pharaohs, and is commonly used for a variety of health benefits, most notably to lower blood pressure and support upper respiratory and heart health. These pretty, little dried flowers can also be steeped in sugar and water to produce the most gorgeous looking syrup, perfect for all of those spring cocktails that you’ve been wanting to whip up! Tea and spice shops often carry dried hibiscus flowers, but if you are having trouble finding it, you can always go online!
Hibiscus Cocktail Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
Tbsp lime zest
Pinch of salt to taste
Combine sugar, water and hibiscus over med-high heat in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. With the heat off, let steep for another 20 minutes. Add lime zest and pinch of salt. Double strain through wire mesh and let cool. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
You can substitute most simple syrups with this ruby-hued delight to liven up your springtime cocktails. In fact, just last week, while visiting sunny Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of mixing up a few batches of hibiscus French 75s for some foxy Angelenos. They were a huge hit!
Hibiscus French 75
1.5 oz dry gin
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz hibiscus syrup
Build the first three ingredients in the glass. Then top it all off with bubbly.
In a pinch, you can add a spot of this syrup to sparkling wine on its own for some extra color and zip! And you can call it the Hibiscus Royale. You’re welcome!
And because I didn’t include a recipe for the Hibiscus Pisco Sour a few weeks back, here it is!
2 oz Capurro Premium Pisco
1 oz lime juice
1 oz hibiscus syrup
1 egg white
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Dry shake – shake first four ingredients without ice first to emulsify egg white. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into coupe glass and top with bitters.
Welcome to hibiscus town! You may never want to leave. Now, tell me what you end up doing with this tarted up syrup while you’re here!