Elements: Hibiscus - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Hibiscus blossoms are hard to miss, with their showy flares of flower. Their petals are like a flamenco dancer’s swirling skirts. Their prominent stigma proffers up pollen to patrolling bees. The buds look good enough to eat. And, in fact, many species are.

Parts of the plant feature prominently in food and beverage traditions of the Americas, Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. The plant travels under different names: roselle, flor de Jamaica, and sorrel. Its dried petals and calyxes have a cranberry-like tartness and brightness. They also add a deep crimson color to drinks. The flower turns up in Mexican aguas frescas and sodas, spiced teas in parts of Africa, and sweetened infusions in Thailand. In hibiscus drinks, the flavor is often enhanced with spices or herbs, sweetened with honey, and tarted up further with citrus.

Bartenders are picking up these global threads and weaving them into modern drinks. The blossoms turn Margaritas pink, add sourness and floral notes to highballs, and dress up Champagne. The wine’s bubbles spread the red around. Here are some hibiscus drinks worth trying.

Ahumado Seco A beautiful balance of bold mezcal and bright hibiscus.

Boozy Arnold Palmer The classic combo of iced tea and lemonade gets a twist.

Champagne on Mars Hibiscus-infused Galliano meets gin and sparkling wine.

DIY Hibiscus Tea From Minero in Charleston, a tea made with dried flowers and spices.

El Pavo Real A floral cocktail with hints of smoke and spice.

Estrellita Cocktail Vodka and cinnamon syrup flavor this cocktail.

Flor Picante A medley of sweetness, smoke, and spice.

Hibiscus Paloma A vibrant take on the Paloma.

Hibiscus Punch Mix batches by the pitcher, swap in pisco for tequila, or cut the recipe with sparkling water.

Hibiscus Shandy The floral honey lends a depth to this easy-drinking shandy.

Hibiscus Tea Cobbler The tea anchors this Cognac-based cobbler from Bar Casa Vale in Portland, Oregon.

Jamaica Sparkler Chile peppers and hibiscus sing in this booze-free refresher.

Limantour’s Jamaica Cocktail Spiced hibiscus syrup, earthy mezcal, fresh lime, and a pinch of cardamom.

Mezcal Sun-Risa The blossom helps cut through the heat of habanero in this twist on the Tequila Sunrise.

Miss Nightingale A zero-proof mix of hibiscus, lime, cinnamon, and sage.

Moneygun’s Mai Tai Riff The flower gives this riff another level of tropical flavor.

Ponche de Mezcal This New Year’s punch tastes festive all year long.

Queen of the Damned The tropical flower brightens this rye whiskey cocktail.

Red Macaw A Paloma riff made with hibiscus concentrate and your choice of base spirit.

Sakura Cocktail A bright and frothy combo of gin, hibiscus, lemon, and egg white.

Van Down By the River A summer gimlet laced with hibiscus and peach. 

When the Walls Fell This cocktail’s vibrant color comes from a combination of hibiscus, grenadine, and Campari.

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