Steep Me in Majesty
I first had a taste of Rosemary Hibiscus Tea at the Fairmont Princess in Acapulco – I had a regrettable manicure at the spa, and an unforgettable cup of their “secret brew” before leaving the space. A combo of rosemary leaves and hibiscus petals, this sweet red treat was tart and garnet-colored like cranberry juice, only a little milder and much more floral. You can learn all about the flowers and their medicinal properties on Wikipedia.
Apparently, in Jamaica (where the flowers are called sorrel, and oddly, are called “Jamaica” in Latin America) the drink is spiked with a bit of rum as well. This recipe is the non-party version, but impress your bourgeois crew and serve this cooled beverage in a martini glass with a shot of Bacardi and a splash of Grand Marnier. It’ll make you spit your cosmo out the window and drink these from now on instead.
For seeming so luxe, you can get the ingredients for super cheap. The flowers can be found in the Latin area of the supermarket, but you can just as easily order them online. I got a 1lb. bag of organic leaves for $10 from Amazon (plus free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member). The recipe calls for a cup at a time – you’ll have enough leaves to make pitchers of this the entire summer. I buy the dried rosemary leaves at the bodega in our neighborhood – a large jar is only $1 and holds enough to make 4 pitchers of the drink. This tea is actually a “tisane” as there are no tea leaves present – just herbs and florals. It’s perfect for folks that want an iced tea alternative with no caffeine badness.
Because all the leaves can be messy, I like to make the steeped hibiscus liquid with a french press. They are easy to use, cheap to buy and they strain everything so incredibly simply. Plus, they make delicious coffee. I picked one up at IKEA for $10 – which, BTW, if you’ve not visited IKEA’s cookware section in a while, take a trip. They have surprisingly high-quality nonstick pans, ceramic bakeware and utensils for a steal.
Rosemary Hibiscus Tea
1 c. of dried hibiscus petals
1/3 c. of dried rosemary leaves
1 qt. of water
honey to taste
Put 4 cups of water in a kettle to boil. Add the flowers and rosemary to your french press or a pitcher. When the water comes to a boil, add to the press or the pitcher and cover. Let steep for a half an hour. Strain liquid to another pitcher and fill with cold water to make 1 quart. Dissolve honey in the tea and chill. Garnish with orange slices, lime or a sprig of rosemary – whatever you have on hand to make it lovely.
- Add 1 inch of peeled ginger for a spicier drink.
- Leave out the rosemary and add the juice of two limes.
- Use two parts tea to 1 part vodka and a twist of lime for a classy martini.