I failed to notice Jamaica was in the title of this presumably authentic Mexican drink until I started typing up this post. But the recipe came from Saveur’s Mexico Issue, so I think we’re good. Known also as Sweet Hibiscus Drink, Agua de Jamaica lives up to its name. Sweet is an accurate descriptor, but more on that in a moment.
To start, allow me to address the “exotic ingredient” issue. If you are a cook who leans more toward simple than elaborate, like me, you are probably thinking something along the lines of, “Hibiscus flowers? Come on lady, I am never going to make this.”
I hear you, but I also promise you, it is possible to procure dried Hibiscus flowers with minimal effort. I am fortunate enough to live within a few miles of a Savory Spice Shop that carries them, and although I have never purchased them online, they are available at nuts.com and www.frontiercoop.com. Health food stores in your area might also be an option.
Now, on to the sweet…
I love sweets, so when I say this drink was too sweet for me, please take note. If you choose to make it, maybe dial down the sugar a notch, using 1 cup or 1 1/4 cup instead of the 1 1/2 cups called for in the original recipe.
At the very least, serve the drink over a glass full of ice (I was wishing for fancy snow cone ice when I sampled my drink). Or cut it with sparkling water or club soda.
The drink is non-alcoholic, but I can’t imagine adding a shot of tequila would hurt. Hurt the drink, that is. I can’t say what it might do to you. Tequila and humans are a combination that defies all logic.
If you need more ideas for what to do with any leftover hibiscus flowers, Love & Olive Oil posted quite a few recipes over the past year that make use of them. In keeping with the Cinco de Mayo theme, here is the link to their Hibiscus Flower Enchiladas recipe. There is also a sorbet, jam, panna cotta, and soda recipe making use of hibiscus flowers, so you are sure to go through any leftovers rather quickly. Enjoy!
- 5 cups water
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 cups (approximately 2 ounces) dried hibiscus flowers
- 3 allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, about one minute.
- Removed from heat and stir in the dried hibiscus flowers, all spice berries, and the cinnamon stick.
- Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.
- Pour the mixture through a fine strainer to discard the solids, then refrigerate.
- Serve over ice.