Dried or fresh hibiscus flowers make a delicious and pretty tea. Combine them with ginger, and you have a gorgeous drink. The optional pinch of salt discreetly brightens the flavor.
1. Add the hibiscus, gingerroot, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and 1 cup water to a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring just to a boil over high heat. Stir to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Take off heat and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the syrup into a jar, squeezing the solids to extract maximum flavor. Discard the flowers and gingerroot.
2. To make soda, stir 3 tablespoons of syrup into 8 ounces of cold carbonated water.
3. The syrup will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge, but the flavor of syrups made with fresh flowers may change after a few days.
Makes syrup for 6 to 8 glasses of soda
Hibiscus Ginger Ale (left) is featured with the Grapefruit Soda
Photograph by Mitch Mandel
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April/May 2013