Wow, I have even more appreciation for food photographers after trying, in vain, to capture the garnet red of agua de jamaica. It’s a really stunning deep red color, and it’s hard to capture if your crappy corporate housing has a patio that doesn’t catch the full Mexican sun. (I can’t wait to move into our apartment, which gets tons of sunshine).
Agua de jamaica (pronounced huh-mike-ah and in English means Hibiscus flower water) is similar to a Kool-aid berry flavor, but has a subtle smoky, spicy flavor to it. It’s got three main ingredients: dried jamaica flowers, sugar and water. I opted to make a no-calorie version today using Splenda, and it was great.
Best thing about the tea, other than its taste: It’s loaded with chemicals that are good for you, but be warned: it’s also a mild diuretic.
– 3/4 cup dried jamaica flowers (be sure to rinse them off first)
– 2 1/2 cups water
– Splenda, to taste
– Ice, and lime for garnish
Bring water to a roiling boil. Add hibiscus flowers, stir over heat for about a minute. Turn off heat, and let flower water sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Using a thin mesh colandar, strain out flowers. Let tea mixture cool. Then, pour into glasses and add desired level of ice, Splenda and lime squeezes. If the jamaica flavor is too strong, add more water.
(Note: Hibiscus flowers can stain, so try not to spill on your Old Navy sweatshirt.)