Aren’t these margaritas gorgeous? Wait till you sip one. Tart with lime juice, of course. And nicely seasoned with 100% agave tequila and a dash of orange liqueur. It’s the color that really gets you saying WOW–and the flavor that comes with the color–a syrup made with dried hibiscus blossoms.
Make a batch of hibiscus syrup for hibiscus margaritas–and for refreshing sparkling sodas for those who don’t drink alcohol.
To create the ideal margarita recipe requires tasting and testing. Fortunately, along came Valentine’s Day and the need for a party to celebrate the moonrise over Baja. We packed all the ingredients for red hibiscus margaritas in an ice chest and took the party to the beach. Trial samples for everyone. When the entire test panel practically inhaled their crimson cocktails, I knew I had a winner.
Hibiscus drinks, con o sin (with or without) alcohol, begins with “tea” made with dried hibiscus blossoms. Pour boiling water over, and let the flowers steep and plump. Strain off the flowers and wah-la! —you’ve got a vivid royal plum-red infusion. Look for flor de jamaica (floor-day-ha-mike-a) in Latino grocers–the deep dark purple dried flowers are usually in see-through bags. Or buy them online.
Hibiscus brews are fruity, with an acidic edge, indicating ample Vitamin C on board. That tart flavor says, for my taste buds at least, sugar needed. So sweeten things up just a bit, with sugar or agave or honey.
It’s an ongoing affair I have with hibiscus flowers. Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger herbal tea, which I adore, hot or iced, lists hibiscus the first ingredient.
I can still taste the fruity hibiscus contrasting creamy chocolate in that chocolate flan with red caramel sauce I once made for a fancy brunch–mouthwatering. Frosty hibiscus sorbet—bring it on. And in Mexico, the red refreshment in the plastic barrels at street corner stands–that’s the absolute best. It’s called agua de jamaica and inspired these margaritas.
Celebrate National Margarita Day. Drink hibiscus margaritas–“jamaicaritas.” Viva flor de jamaica!
- No alcohol? A tablespoon or two of hibiscus syrup in a glass of ice and topped with cold sparkling water makes an elegant sober cocktail or an impressive mid-afternoon thirst-quencher. Think Italian sodas.
- To make red agua fresca, or agua de jamaica you will want to seriously dilute the hibiscus syrup with even more water. Start with 6 cups water to 2 tablespoons of syrup.
- Mexican “key” limes, smaller and more yellow in color, are perfect for margaritas. If you can get them, use them.
Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!
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Delicious and refreshing bright red margaritas.
- Hibiscus syrup:
- 1 cup flor de jamaica (dried hibiscus flowers)
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 cup honey, sugar or agave syrup
- For each hibiscus margarita:
- 2 tablespoons hibiscus syrup
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila (100% agave)
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- Sliced lime
- Make the syrup:
- Pour the boiling water over the flowers. Cover and let steep ½ hour or more. Strain this infusion into a saucepan, discarding the flowers. Stir in the honey or sugar and heat just enough to dissolve the sweetener into syrup. Chill.
- For each hibiscus margarita:
- Fill a margarita glass with ice cubes. Add the syrup, lime jice, tequila and orange liqueur. Stir. Garnish with a slice of lime. Alternatively, make up a batch following the same ratio. Pour a scant ½ cup over ice.
- Do you prefer salty margaritas? Run a wedge of lime around the edge and dip the glass upside down into a plate of coarse salt.
A tablespoon or two of hibiscus syrup in a glass of ice and topped with cold sparkling water makes an elegant sober cocktail or an impressive mid-afternoon thirst-quencher.
To make agua de jamaica you will want to seriously dilute the hibiscus syrup with even more water. Start with 6 cups water to 2 tablespoons of syrup.
Mexican “key” limes, smaller and more yellow in color, are perfect for margaritas. If you can get them, use them.