Hibiscus is a ubiquitous flavour for beverages in Mexico, where the flower goes by the name ‘jamaica’ (said with an ‘H’ sound instead of a ‘J’, and with the ‘mai’ pronounced as ‘my’). Hibiscus flowers tend to give a tart, very mildly floral taste and an exquisite, jewel-like red burst of colour (which can also stain things easily – be mindful!) This recipe yields much more tea than is needed for 2 cocktails, but this is fine, just fine, because a) who says you were only making enough for 2 people anyways and b) even if you did only want the listed quantity, the leftovers go terrifically well when mixed with some soda water for a non-alcoholic kind of spritz.
P.S. I thought it too late, but a little bit of chili tajin mixed into the sugar rim would be a game changer.
½ cup white sugar (can be reduced to ¼ cup for those who prefer it tarter)
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup dried hibiscus flowers (you can find these at many Latino or specialty food stores!)
3 oz tequila añejo
1 oz fresh lime juice (~2 small limes)
1 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
½ oz agave or maple syrup
Plenty of ice cubes
Sugar, for rim
Lime wedges, for garnishing
Make the hibiscus tea by combining the sugar and cinnamon stick in a medium pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Stir in the dried hibiscus, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Add 2-3 cups of ice then stir to cool. Strain and set aside.
Use a lime wedge to wet the rims of 2 cocktail glasses. Spread the sugar out on a very small plate and rim the edge of the glasses with the sugar until a thick, even lip has formed. If you liked my chili-sugar idea, you could whisk in some chili tajin to the sugar before coating the rims. Gently place 2-3 large ice cubes in each glass (if you plop them in the sugar is liable to shake off a bit). Fill a shaker with ice cubes and pour in the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau/Triple Sec, syrup, and 2 oz reserved hibiscus tea. Shake well and strain into the prepared glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish with lime wedges. Sweet release.