Memorial Day weekend is upon us! After what seemed like an endlessly gray, rainy, cold spring, the temperamental Mother Nature decided to cooperate and grace us with sun and warmth just in time for the holiday. It seemed a fitting time to make an agua fresca - literally translated to "fresh water" - a refreshing beverage to keep on hand for the warmer weather.
Flor de Jamaica - "the flower of Jamaica" - is the Spanish term for hibiscus flowers, and they're the star of the show in this tart, refreshing drink. Hibiscus flowers are what give the zing to zinger teas, and they also lend a beautiful ruby color to anything they're included in. This agua fresca is made by making a concentrated hibiscus tea (technically, a tisane, since it doesn't contain actual tea leaves) that's lightly sweetened and infused with lime zest and juice. The concentrate keeps in the fridge for a few weeks, and can be mixed with flat or sparkling water - and perhaps a splash of rum, if you'd like to make it into a cocktail. My concentrate recipe is very lightly sweetened, so if you'd prefer a less tart beverage, you can adjust the sweetener accordingly.
Happy Memorial Day!!
Flor de Jamaica Agua Fresca
Makes 1 quart of concentrateClick here for a printable recipe
1 c. dried hibiscus flowers
1 quart water
1 strip of lime zest, removed from the fruit with a peeler
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. agave or honey (Or more, to taste)
Make the flor de Jamaica concentrate: In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in hibiscus flowers and turn heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in lime zest, lime juice, and agave or honey; stir until the sweetener is dissolved. Let cool, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
To make an agua fresca, pour 1/4 c. of the concentrate into a glass, and top with 1 1/2 - 2 c. water or seltzer. Stir and top with ice; if desired, garnish with a lime. Enjoy!