Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cocktail - Flor de Jamaica or Hibiscus

Cocktail - Flor de Jamaica or Hibiscus
Photograph by Leticia Alaniz © 2015
We love cocktails!  A lot can be said about why we drink them, how the potions became popular all over the world and how they make us feel  when we enjoy them.  We can all remember stories and memories of special occasions with cocktails.  They seem to transport us to exotic islands or romantic cities.  A carefully crafted cocktail can take us on a time travel and make an evening seem more festive.  Even a hot summer afternoon can be lowered a few degrees or a chilly night can warm our souls with a sweet or savory cocktail.   

What is it about the cocktail that even awakens passion in us?  As we mix a drink, the alchemy of a cocktail happens instantly, right in front of  our own eyes.  The alchemy of a wine takes years before it becomes the wonderful drink.  Cocktail alchemy is magic to be experienced first hand.  There is a story about famous american writer H.L. Mencken, whom loved cocktails and was popular for his cultural criticism and writings.  As he was a man of ideas, he decided to invite a mathematician to a popular (and secret) watering hole or speakeasy, keep in mind this was in the 1930’s during the prohibition era in the United States, and so he asked the mathematician to calculate all the possibilities.  The mathematician came up with an equation that calculated the number of possible combinations of cocktails and came up with 17 million.  I believe that number falls short.. The possibilities are endless!

The flamboyance of cocktails are the design of mixologists just as food recipes are the design of chefs.  Here I present you a very popular latin flavor often served in the afternoons: flor de jamaica or hibiscus.  In Mexico especially, aguas frescas are sold by street vendors and flor de jamaica is one of the most popular flavors.  

Jamaica or hibiscus is a flower and when dried it is used to make tea infusions or flavorings for sauces or salsas.  The dried flowers have a tart, cranberry- like flavor and they contain vitamin C and minerals.  Traditionally the flowers have been used as medicine so imagine a cocktail that not only will help detoxify but supply vitamin C and cure ailments… That’s my kind of medicine!  
Hibiscus Rum Infusion
Photograph by Leticia Alaniz © 2015

Cocktail Flor de Jamaica or Hibiscus Cocktail


For the Infusion (make the night before):

6-8 oz of White Rum
2 cups of Water
3-4 tablespoons Hibiscus Flowers or about a small handful

Mix all infusion ingredients and pour in a glass container and cover.  Keep refrigerated overnight.  

For the Cocktail:

10-15 Mint Leaves
3 oz of Orange Liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec 
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
4-6 teaspoons of simple syrup or to taste
Slices of oranges and orange twist for garnish
Sugar & crushed Dried Chile (to rim glasses)


For this cocktail it’s best to use short glasses.  Coat the rim of the glasses with a bit of lime or orange.  Next roll the glasses in sugar and follow with a coating of crushed dried chile.  Set them aside.  In a cocktail mixer, muddle the mint leaves along with the orange juice.  Fill the cocktail shaker with ice.  Pour the rum infusion and shake vigorously.  Fill the glasses with ice.  Pour the mixture into the glasses and garnish with the orange twist and pieces of orange.  It makes at least two good servings.  Enjoy!   

No comments:

Post a Comment