The global novel coronavirus pandemic may have grounded us, but we can still enjoy happy hour. This daily series will provide delicious drink recipes for you to try at home. So call your friends for a virtual sip session and traverse the globe, even if it's only in your mind.
Today's cocktail hails from Jamaica – Hibiscus Ginger Punch.
What is it?
If the Caribbean came in a cup, it’d taste something like this deep-rouge tropical summer cooler, made from hibiscus flowers and toughened up with a liberal splash of rum.
Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, the petals of the Jamaican sorrel have been used to make a refreshing herbal infusion in West Africa (where it originates), Latin America (where it is called agua de Jamaica) and the Caribbean for centuries. As the pink flowers generally reach maturity in December, it’s little surprise that this beverage has been adopted as Jamaica’s favorite Christmas drink. But don't let that stop you from sampling the drink all year round.
You’ll need (makes one large jug)
16 oz (500g) dried Jamaican hibiscus (sorrel) flowers
2 oz (60ml) minced fresh ginger
3½ pints (2l) boiling water
150g agave syrup (or substitute for 8 oz raw sugar)
Amber rum to taste (use Appleton Estate for Jamaican authenticity)
2 fresh lemons or limes, cut into wedges
2 cups of ice cubes
mint, to garnish
Step 1: Place the hibiscus flowers and ginger in a large heatproof bowl. Pour in the boiling water.
Step 2: Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to steep for 1–2 hours.
Step 3: Stir in the agave or sugar.
Step 4: Strain the mixture into a large pitcher.
Step 5: Chill the drink in the fridge.
Step 6: Once the drink is cold and you are ready to serve it, add lightly squeezed lemon or lime wedges to the pitcher, along with rum to taste, and the ice.
Step 7: Stir to combine everything. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.
There aren’t many other blooms that scream summer quite like pink hibiscus. And its flowers really are good enough to eat – when infused in water, it produces a deliciously tart crimson cordial similar to cranberry juice. It is commonly served as an agua fresca (fresh water) by street vendors and bodegas across Mexico and Central America. It’s also a popular tea. But the addition of sugar (which balances out the hibiscus), ginger (for extra zing), and a splash of rum (it’s Jamaican, after all) takes it to the next level. Sweet, tangy and deliciously exotic, it’s the ultimate sweaty-day quencher. All that’s missing is a plate of jerk chicken – or a cheeky slice of Jamaican fruitcake.