True story: I got the idea for Hibiscus Iced Tea from a man at the grocery store last July. Now I don’t usually start talking to the people in front of me in the checkout lane, but he had two large bags of dried hibiscus flowers, three gigantic bottles of agave nectar, and a whole bunch of lemons. I had just started working from home, so I was slightly desperate for human interaction, but also intrigued. What on earth was this for?
So I struck up a conversation (probably awkwardly). I said something to the effect of, “what are you going to do with all that?” He explained that he owns a restaurant, and he makes big jugs of hibiscus infused water, sweetened with agave, and full of lemon rings. “The customers love it”, he said.
I filed the idea away and left it alone for 9 months. When I was dreaming up a Cinco de Mayo menu, the thought of the Hibiscus Iced Tea popped into my head. It’s bright, fresh, colorful, and flavorful—perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
The tea starts with steeping dried hibiscus flowers in boiling water. You can find dried hibiscus flowers at some major grocery stores (check the bulk bins, and also the ethnic foods aisle). Chicago readers—I’ve seen them before at Mariano’s (both NewCity and Bronzeville). You can also get them on Amazon, as I did this time.
Dried hibiscus flowers are used for the popular Red Zinger tea, so if you like that, you’ll love this! It’s fresh and fruity, with just a hint of tang. I sweetened the Hibiscus Iced Tea with agave, though honey would be delicious, too! Then I added a squeeze of lime juice and lime rings to complete the tea. My inspiration at the grocery store used lemon, and that of course works, too!
So there you have it: three ingredient Hibiscus Iced Tea. It’s SO refreshing. I’m looking forward to summer days sipping this one on the back deck! It would also be great with a shot of vodka. 😉
I served the Hibiscus Iced Tea for an early Cinco de Mayo celebration with my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. She took care of the table setting and I did the menu, which included Easy Red Pozole (which everyone loved) and Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip (ditto—the guests loved it!). It’s a festive and fun menu that feeds a crowd!
Hibiscus Iced Tea
- ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup agave nectar
- 4 limes 3 of them sliced into ⅛ inch slices
- Place the water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and add the hibisucs flowers. Let steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into a heat-safe pitcher and stir in the agave. Let sit on the countertop or refrigerate until cool.
- Squeeze one of the limes into the pitcher and stir. Drop in the lime slices just before serving and serve over ice.