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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Agua Fresca de Jamaica

I have many things, but here are a few things you can't find in my home.
A vase.  Seriously... I like flowers, but I like them outside in plant form.  I hate being offered flowers for the simple reason that I have no idea what to do with them except for putting them in a vase.. which I don't have, and I don't want, because I don't really care for being offered flowers.
Plus, it takes up all the space on the table and just gets in the way and all you're really waiting for is for them to get ugly enough to throw out.  Oh.. and changing the flower water makes me gag.  I don't mind cleaning lizard poop, but flower water.. bleh!!
People who know me well know that the only flowers or plants I love being offered are the edible ones.  
Bouquet of basil?  oh you just made me blush...
Chiles in any form?  oh yes yes yes!
Ok ok, if you absolutely must, offer me flowers.. but make sure they're chive flower, zucchini flowers, or in the dried form.. hibiscus flowers!  Besides, the only purpose for which I would ever use a vase would be as a pitcher (which I don't have either, but for no apparent reason).
Yes, this is my guest etiquette and it's kind of an understanding.. never anything I actually impose.
I've been making hot hibiscus tea for some time now.. just the flowers steeped with no additions, but the weather has been getting sweaty hot, and although it is recommended to drink warm or hot when hot, I just can't bring myself to do it.  I want and crave ice cold water and iced tea!  The upside is that hibiscus has a cooling effect on the body (so does cucumber), so even if you drink it cold, it eventually ends up cooling you.
I grew up drinking agua de jamaica any time I had the opportunity.  I was never one for soda and mostly would just drink water, but whenever this iced tea was available, I would dive head first into it.
On top of being refreshing and deliciously tart, hibiscus has many health benefits.  It is loaded with antioxidants, can lower blood pressure, and reduce chronic inflammation.  Why wait?
Yield 2 Liters/Quarts
1 heaping handful dried hibiscus flowers
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 Liters water
1/4 cup sugar or to taste (I completely omitted)
1.  Place the hibiscus, ginger, cinnamon, and sugar in a large enough bowl.
2.  Boil the water and pour over the arrangement in the bowl.
3.  Steep for 10 minutes, then strain.
4.  Let cool, then refrigerate.

Enjoy chilled, any time of the day.  This is a great "anytime" beverage.
I enjoyed it with happy hour to accompany my Nocellara del Belice amazing olives, slices of cold juicy melon, and some homemade hummus and dipping paraphernalia.
I love the tartness of this drink. Although the restaurants serve it with lots of sugar, I like it better the way I make it at home, sugar free.  Many people find it too sour, but I prefer it this way.

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  1. Sounds so refreshing! I'll have to try this as we've been drinking a lot of tea- although I may add some honey ;)

    1. Do it! It's so refreshing! I just made it again with chile instead of cinnamon.. yes I'm kind of cray cray =)
      So.. passports eh? I can think of a few places you can use one of those =)