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July 21, 2010

An Inspiring Find!

Hibiscus-Ginger Iced Tea...and Martini.


One day in the grocery store, I strolled past an enormous pile of crispy burgundy objects. They looked like little dried sea anemones...in the produce department?!

I picked one up and smelled it. To my amazement, here in this small-town store, I had found a mountain of dried hibiscus flowers! Well, I grabbed the largest produce bags I could find and started stuffing it with flowers. It occurred to me that there was no price tag anywhere to be found, but I didn't care! I finished my shopping and headed to the register, anxiously waiting to see if I had gotten myself into trouble...

The grocery clerk asked what they were. After telling her, she nonchalantly stated, "Well I don't have a price code for that...how about $1.99 for the bag?" "Sound's great!" (Whue!) I had just paid 2 bucks for no less than 300 dried hibiscus flowers!

Needless to say, after playing with the hibiscus flowers I have found them to be a truly versatile ingredient. Their delicate floral essence--laced with a bright citrusy note--makes them perfect for flavoring beverages, light desserts, and dressings! I often steep them in water for hibiscus tea. But most recently, I have been making hibiscus simple syrup for all sorts of concoctions! This simple syrup works wonders in whipped creme, creme brulee, even delicate baked goods!  

I make large quantities of tea for the ladies that attend my cooking class. This seems to be the favorite--with more requests for this recipe than any other beverage I've made them! And the hibiscus simple syrup makes one killer martini!

*If you can't find dried hibiscus flowers, look for hibiscus tea bags!

Sommer


Hibiscus-Ginger Tea:

4 quarts of water
3-4 inch piece of ginger sliced thin (no need to peel)
1 large handful of dried hibiscus flowers (3/4 cup)
3/4-1 cup sugar

Add all to a large pot.


Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes.


Cool and strain. Serve over ice!



Hibiscus-Ginger Martini:

1 oz. hibiscus-ginger simple syrup
1 oz. vodka or gin
2 oz. (or more) seltzer or club soda

pieces or ginger and rehydrated flowers for garnish

To make the simple syrup:  Cut a 2 inch piece of ginger into thin slices (no need to peel). Add 1 1/2 cups of water , 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 large handful of dried hibiscus flowers, and the sliced ginger to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Allow the infusion to steep until cooled to room temperature. Strain out the flowers and ginger--reserving some for garnishes. Refrigerate until ready  to use.


Hibiscus-Ginger Tea on Foodista

38 comments:

  1. Jamaica, oh I love it....isn't the color just awesome, this is one of my fav aguas...

    sweetlife

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  2. I can not believe you got the mother load for $2...I so need to shop with you. I adore hibiscus flowers and ginger...These are perfect, and what a great use for these treasures:)

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  3. Oh how I love hibiscus tea!! It's the colour. Colour always gets to me. The ginger is a fabulous addition and I just love the look of that martini!

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  4. wow. This looks so great. I can't wait to try it. Now I need to find those flowers!

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  5. Wow...that must be delicious, I love ginger tea, the hibiscus flowers are beautiful. And make a martini with it was genius.

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  6. Love both ideas. Beautiful and fabulous...

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  7. Hibiscus really does add a delicious twist to many foods. Growing up we had at least 20 hibiscus plants in our garden and my mom used to make hibiscus wine from it .

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  8. I love your drinks, they are so refreshing!

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  9. Sounds wonderful...and I will have a martini, please!

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  10. A fantastic & stunning alternative drink!! Waw!!

    I love the flavour of hibiscus flowers a lot!

    I will have that tasty drink,..yes,...please!

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  11. I love how you find these flavors and poof, awesomeness.

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  12. It's five o'clock somewhere!

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  13. Holy smokes - this is RIGHT up my alley! I am a gigantic GIGANTIC martini fan, so thank you for another recipe I can add to the list...this one though might make me feel better as the hibiscus is good for me!

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  14. Beautiful red color, the recipe sounds great too!

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  15. Wow, you scored a huge deal! Guess that worked in your advantage. Hibiscus flowers make a beautiful, sweet tea. The flowery scent is very refreshing.

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  16. Heard the name of this flower many times, but never made anything with it. I didn't know there are several ways to use it. The combo with ginger sounds fantastic! I can easily find dried hibiscus flowers here, so I will try this recipe. Thank you for the idea!

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  17. This is awesome, Sommer. I love the way you showed how you did it too. That's always nice!
    I see hibiscus flowers at whole foods sometimes. I'll grab some next time I see them and try this-it looks wonderful.

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  18. I think you know how much I enjoy hibiscus flowers! And, wouldn't you know, I have a baggie just waiting to be used for some of that tea (or, ahem, a martini when my kids aren't looking). You got a great deal! My little sandwich baggie full cost me $2.68. Great post!

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  19. What a great post. I always enjoy drinking hibiscus tea. I will keep my eyes peeled on those flowers. I love to try the hibiscus ginger tea and of course the martini.

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  20. I'll have to watch out for these. I have never cooked with hibiscus flowers and they are appearing on blogs these days.

    The tea looks awesome. Love the color!

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  21. I would be really excited too if I found hibiscus flowers! I love hibiscus tea. And the martini sounds great! At the culinary school I work at they are going to be making white hibiscus sangria in one of the upcoming classes. How good does that sound?

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  22. What a refreshing summer treat. The color speaks volumes and makes the tea especially appealing. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  23. Congrats on the cheap hibiscus haul! I'm jealous, as I love hibiscus tea. Wouldn't have thought of the ginger, but it sounds great so I will have to try it out. :)

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  24. thanks for showing what you can do with them...I haven't seen them but will definitely look for them....I used to use dried chrysanthemum flowers to make teas for my allergies.....they were not the best tasting....yours look much better!

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  25. I'm enthralled. If you had to give the flavor a similarity, what would it be? I can't even imagine. It's a gorgeous color. Your camera/photography is amazing too. Incredibly crisp and clear. Gorgeous....all of it.

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  26. Have never seen Hibiscus flower anywhere, I have to look for them. Your pictures are wonderful.

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  27. This sounds amazing, Sommer - I'll take the martini, thank you. ( : Brian and I were up in Northern VA for business today and I just saw a product that was a hibiscus flower syrup to add to such things as this, with actual flowers in the jar - I thought of you!!

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  28. Hi Sommer, that is a great deal, and a beautiful cocktail! I just bought tea with hibiscus flowers and rose that I adore. Your martini is gorgeous, so vibrant, what a perfect summer drink!

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  29. Sommer...this is perfect.
    Not only do I have a blooming Hibiscus smiling at me everyday...now she can soothe me too ;o)
    Ginger...love it...no need to say more.
    Excellent post.

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

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  30. Oh my Sommer, you hit jack pot with this find! And look at what you did with it - obviously these could not have gone to a more owrthy recipient :)

    I have no experience with hibiscus flowers so this is particularly insightful for me. I love the color and the texture and the rich color in your tea is WONDERFUL.

    Hey, I just noticed that we are both alike in the fact that we don't peel our ginger..yea!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  31. I could do with a glass of that right about now. Does it matter that it's 9 am? It looks so wonderfully exotic and refreshing. Way to go for being so creative!

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  32. What a wonderful blog...I found you through the Baking Barrister and I'm so glad that I did. I love hibiscus tea but I've never thought to add ginger, which is a brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing!

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  33. Unusual and creative. Thanks for sharing.

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  34. I don't know how much hibiscus flowers cost, but that sounds like a steal!

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  35. It's such a pretty color I can't help but love it! I'll be sure to keep my eye out for them now so I can make your lovely drinks!

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  36. OMG, Agua de Jamaica just got kicked up a notch, just today I opened the fridge looking for something cool and refreshing and thought to myself, "self today is a great day for agua de Jamaica" and then I came across your recipe, jamaica and ginger wow what a perfect marriage of flavors.
    This is a revelation and I can't wait to try it.

    Thanks

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  37. A favourite and a healthy drink
    http://torviewtoronto.blogspot.com/2010/05/hibiscus-tea.html

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  38. I grew up with Hibiucus tea...brings so many memories. And I had totally forgotten about it! And the ginger, what a great idea! Thanks!

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I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!