Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

This isn’t exactly a New Orleanian recipe, but it ought to be as it tastes exactly like a cherry sno-ball. Agua de Jamaica (ha-ma-IKE-uh) is a brilliant crimson drink made from the dried flowers of a hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and is very popular in Mexico, Central America, Texas, California, Egypt, and Latvia (of all places). Here in California you can find bottled Jamaica in most stores along with powdered mixes.

Agua de Jamaica
2 ounces flor de jamaica (dried jamaica flowers)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
6 cups cold water

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the flowers and the sugar and stir while the mixture boils for one minute. Pour into a glass bowl (or other non-corrosive bowl) and steep for at least 2 hours like you would tea. The flowers stain, so be sure to use a non-staining bowl if you don’t use glass. Strain the mixture through a sieve pressing on the flowers to extract as much liquid as possible. Taste for strength and sweetness. If it’s too strong, add bit of water or if it’s too tart then add more sugar.

Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. Serve over cracked ice.

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One thought on “Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

  1. Hi, Tim, I hope you can come.
    ————- K

    The second annual Rising Tide conference will be held August 24-26, 2007, at the New Orleans Yacht Club. This is a NOLA blogger-organized and supported conference featuring speakers, panels, breakout sessions, and other dialogs on the future of the city of New Orleans.

    This year’s emphasis is on ground-level, grass-roots efforts. It has become clear to those of us in south Louisiana that we will have to watch the watchmen, as well as take the upper hand in setting the city back on track. To that end, there will be presentations on local politics and how to influence them, making civics sexy, sustainability, levee engineering, and media outreach.

    The keynote speaker is Dave Zirin, author of Welcome to the Terrordome, published by Haymarket Press, a columnist for SLAM Magazine, a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. Timothy Ruppert, president of the Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, will give a comprehensive report on the status of our levee protection two years after the failure of the federal levees brought catastrophe to New Orleans. Matt McBride of Fix the Pumps will present via video conference. Panelists will include community activists Karen Gadbois of Squandered Heritage, Bart Everson of B.Rox, and Peter Athas of Adrastos, muckraking blogger Mark Moseley of Your Right Hand Thief, New Orleans political sage Michael Duplantier and author Joshua Clark (Heart Like Water).

    On Friday, August 24, there will be a party at Buffa’s Lounge featuring the work of New Orleans videographers, and Sunday is reserved for a hands-on service project in aid of the NOLA school system. At the Buffa’s party, we are serving cocktail party-type food, but there will be a cash bar.
    The weekend’s events costs $20 per person. This includes admission to the Friday night party at Buffa’s, Saturday’s events at the New Orleans Yacht Club (including morning coffee and croissants and lunch from Dunbar’s), and participation in the Sunday service project. Please register to attend using the PayPal link on the website. If you don’t use PayPal, feel free to call or e-mail me to reserve your space at the conference and, more importantly, your lunch from Dunbar’s. We have no problem with people paying at the door, we just need to know that you are coming.

    There will, of course, be liveblogging of the event, and materials available online. If you can’t come, there is also a paypal link if you’d care to donate (this is a non-profit endeavor). Feel free to contact us through the website, or ask questions by replying to this e-mail. Rising Tide’s toll-free phone number is: 866-910-2055.

    Although I am sending this e-mail to over 200 people, I’m sure I’m missing some. Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested. Unless they have a blog or have expressed interest in the past, they are probably not on my e-mail list. Also, bloggers, please spread the word on your blogs!

    Thanks for your support, Kim Marshall

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