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Ruby-Red Hibiscus Lemonade

Redder than raspberries and tart as citrus, hibiscus tea makes a versatile beverage that mixes as well with rum or tequila as it does with sparkling water.

Served chilled or hot, this deep red drink is one of our favorite pick-me-ups at any time of day. It’s made from the dried sepals, or calyces, of a flower that goes by several names, including Hibiscus sabdariffa and roselle.

In Mexico, as well as in Napa, dried hibiscus is called “jamaica” and made into a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. On the island of Jamaica, a hibiscus punch known as “sorrel” is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas time. You can even make ruby-red hibiscus sangria.

Hibiscus may have health benefits as well: Like many of our favorite red foods, it contains anthocyanins, molecules believed to have antioxidant properties. Scientists have also explored their use in maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

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

Get the recipe: »» Hibiscus Lemonade

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.