Written by David Edessa
Growing up in California I remember summers playing ball tag with the neighborhood kids and my mother having a pitcher of cold Agua Fresca (fresh fruit drinks, tea infused and other non-alcoholic flavored coolers).
Agua Fresca is excellent by itself or as a mixer for a cocktail.
Hibiscus (Jamaica) Agua Fresca
- 1 ⅓ cups hibiscus flowers
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 4 cups boiling water
- 2 cups organic apple juice
- 4 cups cold water
First off, pick out a pot or pitcher that will not stain. Hibiscus has the potential to stain just about anything it comes in contact with (keep this in mind).
Peel fresh mint leaves without stems. In a large heatproof container combine flower, mint leaves, and boiling water; steep for one hour in room temperature and then add mint in the last 20 minutes. Place a lid over the container during process, stirring once or twice along the way to break down ingredients. Discard flowers and mint using a sieve (repeat straining twice). Add all apple juice and cold water; refrigerate until cold. Taste and adjust based on your personal preference. You can add a bit more sugar if you think you need it or more water if you feel like the Jamaica is too overpowering. Fill glasses with ice; pour agua fresca over and serve and garnish with a lime wheel. Can be made 2 to 3 days ahead of time (recommended).
If you need to make Agua Fresca or cocktail sweeter, utilize following sweetener.
Honey Lemon Zest Syrup:
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup Honey
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon (1 tbsp. min.)
Have a good glass jar that you can seal and can add hot liquids to. Heat water until boiling, remove from heat and whisk syrup and lemon zest, until mix is dissolved. Then, while the sugar is still very hot (but no longer boiling–let it cool) use a spoon to swirl the ingredients around a bit. Be careful as that jar is going to be very hot. Once it’s cool enough to touch, seal the jar and leave it at room temperature for 12 – 24 hours. After that, pour through a metal strainer and refrigerate (never use warm in a cold drink). Should last at least 3 – 6 months refrigerated.
Hibiscus Peach Smash
- 1 ¼ oz. Citrus Vodka
- ¾ oz. Peach schnapps
- Splash fresh orange juice (½oz)
- Fill with Hibiscus Aqua Fresca (recipes above)
In a tall glass, fill with ice; add liquids, shake, and serve. Garnish with an orange twist.
- 1 liter organic cranberry juice
- 10 oz. unsweetened organic pineapple juice
- ¼ cup mint leaves (without stems)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 16 oz. Ginger Ale
Combine mint, cranberry juice, pineapple & lemon juice in a large jug. Add ginger ale to punch and stir when ready to serve.
- 1 ½ oz. White Rhum
- ½ oz. Grand Marnier
- Fill with Cranberry-Mint Fresca
In a tall glass, fill with ice; add liquids, shake, and serve. Garnish with a mint leaf.