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Trend Alert: Hibiscus Drinks

Last June, I discovered the sweet virtue of dried hibiscus flowers. I picked them up at Trader Joe's and, on a whim, stirred them into a pitcher of lemonade. The hibiscus lent a sweet, tart flavor, as well as a beautiful blush color.

Perhaps by putting hibiscus flowers into that pitcher of sparkling ade, I was onto something: Hibiscus, with its fruity, tannic flavor, has been appearing in all sorts of beverages, from sparkling sodas to hot cocktails.

I've seen Ooba, a sparkling hibiscus soda, everywhere from this year's Fancy Foods Show to the drink aisle at the local Whole Foods Market. On her new show, Giada at Home, Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis entertained with a spiked hibiscus tea, made by boiling dried hibiscus in sugar water, straining out the flowers, and mixing in lemon juice and vodka. Both beverages, with their punchy pink color and notes of cranberry flavor, are drinks that would satisfy on a hot Summer day.

Not that hibiscus is only to be enjoyed during Summer. This month, Bon Appétit proclaims Winter cocktail The Laureate to be the "new hot toddy." In the mix? Añejo tequila, agave nectar, and — you guessed it — dried hibiscus flowers, which add "a bit of tartness and a rich ruby red color."

Can you see hibiscus drinks being a trend that really takes off? Have you enjoyed any hibiscus-flavored beverages lately?

Join The Conversation
John3191660 John3191660 5 years
there is actually a hibiscus vodka coming out soon.  It tastes delicious!
Miini Miini 5 years
HI, i am Malaysian, i am interesting to try this hibiscus drink.. Appreciate have some one able to advise when i can buy it??? Thanks Q very Much ^^  
DivaDivine DivaDivine 8 years
HIbiscus iced tea is a popular drink in the Caribbean. I like my hibiscus boiled in a thick simple syrup then poured over lemonade and it gives a really cool "sunset" effect.
marie-lee marie-lee 8 years
I've got some hibiscus flowers somewhere in the cupboard that are meant to go into a glass of sparkling wine...I should have a look for them. I've also got some hibiscus and rosehip tastes very pink!
Food Food 8 years
@hippiecowgirl: How fun! :P @Spectra, @KMattes: I don't know too much about the hibiscus plant, but I believe Hibiscus Sabdariffa is the one that's typically used -- and only the calyxes of the bud are dried. If you wind up trying anything, I'd love to hear how it goes. :)
sunshyne sunshyne 8 years
i also believe its called Sorrel. Friends from Jamaica and other islands drink this all the time. Its quite tasty! I guess the trend is migrating. Oh, and it was on Grill It! with Bobbly Flay recently.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
When I went to Mexico I lived off of a cool Hibiscus drink. So tasty (there is was called jugo de jamaica)
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
I've loved hibiscus for years, it's so lovely in iced tea. A few yrs ago Dole made this refrigerated hibiscus punch and that's what got me hooked. And for the past two years I've taken trips to Hawaii and that spoiled me because they sell all kinds of delicious hibiscus products. I'd love to make up a hibiscus cocktail this weekend! yum!
jspeed jspeed 8 years
Does hibiscus have any particular health benefits? Or is this just a trendy new taste?
KMattes KMattes 8 years
Spectra, I had the same question. I live in Hawaii and have lots of hibiscus blooms in my backyard right now...drying them myself would save lots of money!
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I had a red iced tea with hibiscus flower at The Red Chair Salon in San Francisco! I would be excited to see it as a new trend because it was really good.
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
Go to a mexican restaurant and they will surely have it ( with tons of sugar though).
Antioxidant Antioxidant 8 years
I want to make that spiked hibiscus tea. I've never tasted hibiscus before, so that should be something totally new.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I love the flower, ha.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Hibiscus flowers always remind me of the time that I spent in Hawaii. I've only ever had them as an ingredient in hot tea, so I couldn't pick out a definite taste, but they're so gorgeous.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Ok, so this may sound like a really stupid question, but can you use regular old hibiscus flowers that you can grow at home to make these drinks? My aunt keeps a hibiscus plant in her house and it blooms...wonder if we could pluck the flowers off it and dry them ourselves? BTW, I love hibiscus tea, so I can see these drinks becoming popular.
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