Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jul 21: Cool and Refreshing

It's HOT! 90F to 100F!

A cool, refreshing drink I enjoy when I find it being served at the local Mexican restaurants is Jamaica - sweetened iced hibiscus tea.

When it comes to Mexican foods and recipes, I look to Rick Bayless. He's an American chef that specializes in the various cuisines of Mexico. Fortunately, I found his recipe for Agua de Jamaica.

Ref: Rick Bayless's Jamaica Cooler

The recipe is straight forward 2 ounces of dried hibiscus flowers, 1 1/4 C sugar and 3 quarts of water. I only purchased 1 ounce of Jamaica I approximately halved the recipe.

I started with 5 cups of water. I know 4 cups makes 1 quart, but that didn't seem like enough water. Also, via some quick and erroneous math... I calculated 75 g of sugar.

My recipe is as follows...

Hibiscus Tea - Jamaica (Phonetically: ha-my-eek-ah)

1 cups (1 ounces) dried jamaica “flowers”
6T (75g) Sugar
5 C Water

1) Bring two cups of water to a boil.
2) Add the sugar and the hibiscus. NOTE: I gave the flowers a quick soak and rinse to remove any dust.
3) Stir until the sugar dissolves.
4) Steep about 1 hour
5) Strain the liquid and press/squeeze the flowers to extract the liquid from the flowers.
6) Chill before serving... over ice.

The raw ingredients - Sugar and the dried hibiscus flowers

Wow! This is a stronger drink than what's found in the Mexican restaurants.
Typically, in the restaurants the flavors are more restrained.

This batch has the flavor of tea leaves with the tartness of cranberries. A slightly musty, earthy aroma and taste too. I'm glad I miscalculated the sugar.... the 75 g of sugar is more than enough.... which makes sense. 5 cups of water and a little over 1 T sugar makes for a sweet drink. It's almost like a coffee with 3 or 4 cubes of sugar.

Next time I could probably get away with 2 quarts of water per 1 ounce of jamaica while only using 75 g of sugar (which works out to about 2 t per cup).

The flowers naturally colors the drink a pleasing red.

On a hot day, this is a cool and refreshing drink.


Lisa said...

I've never been much of a tea person, but I have to say, that hibiscus tea looks so refreshing, especially with the heat and humidity here..and I LOVE the color! Yep, I'd chug a lug that baby! :) Bayless is a master of all food and drink Mexican, and I'd have to say you did him proud :)

Anonymous said...

Omg I'm so happy to see this! I just bought a pack of dried hibiscus flowers back from my holiday in Kuawait and didn't quite know what to do with it!
Thanks Mucho!