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Hibiscus Lemonade

We drink hibiscus for its tangy, floral flavor and brilliant color, both of which come to the forefront in this honeyed lemonade cooler.

(Makes four cups)

4 cups water
1/2 cup dried hibiscus
2 slices fresh lemon, + 1 for decoration
4 Tbs. honey, or other sweetener to taste
Ice cubes

Bring to a boil water, hibiscus, lemon slices and honey or other sweetener.
Remove the boiling tea from the heat and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Strain and serve with ice and a quarter lemon slice per cup.
Adjust sweetening as needed.

If you find that you enjoy hibiscus as much as we do, this recipe will serve as a springboard for your own custom creations. Here are some options:

Instead of cooling the lemonade after it’s strained, mix it with a bit more boiling water and serve it as a hot tea.

After boiling the hibiscus, add an inch or so of sliced fresh ginger, one sliced orange and/or a handful of fresh mint leaves; let stand 4 to 8 hours before straining, then dilute to taste with cold or hot water and adjust the sweetening.

Substitute a couple of tablespoons of dried lavender and/or dried rosebuds for part of the hibiscus and prepare as above for a more floral “bouquet” of flavors.

Use stevia or other alternative sweeteners for a low-glycemic, THM-friendly option.

Whole Spice also sells hibiscus in a powdered form. Try mixing it with confectioner’s sugar and softened butter to make a buttercream frosting. Or visit Pinterest and search “hibiscus recipes” to find an amazing assortment of preparations including jams and jellies, gummies, cough drops and cocktails.