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Asha's Agua de Jamaica

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Makes: 4 cups

Asha's Agua de Jamaica
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

This highly sippable recipe is our ode to the classic Mexican Agua de Jamaica, using Manipuri-grown hibiscus and Sri Lankan cinnamon and cloves. When finding the perfect brew using the Naga Hills Hibiscus, I tested both cold and hot brewing the flowers. The latter was the clear winner — the heat coaxing out the barberry-like tartness from the flowers and soft, spicy warmth of the cinnamon and cloves. The sweetness is up to the tongue of the drinker. I like a couple tablespoons of sugar — just enough to soften the edges of sourness in the drink, but keep it super refreshing — but if you like it a little sweeter, go ahead and add more. My one tip is to start with two tablespoons and then work your way up a tablespoon of sugar at a time until you reach your desired sweet-sour balance.

This brew does not need to be diluted, just pour over ice and enjoy. But, if you want to be a little extra, my favorite way to drink Agua de Jamaica is shaking it with some ice in a cocktail shaker until it is super cold and forms this tangy, dreamy light pink foam, and then garnished with a lime wheel. If you're feeling like an icy libation, throw in a shot of tequila, mezcal, white rum, or vodka.

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  • 1 cup (20g) Naga Hills Hibiscus
  • One 3-inch Wild Cinnamon Quill
  • 2 to 4 whole Kandyan Cloves
  • 2 tablespoons to ⅓ cup granulated white sugar or sweetener of your choice (we love agave syrup and date sugar, too!)
  • Ice
  • Lime wheels, for garnishing (optional)


  1. Place the hibiscus, cinnamon quill, cloves, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours (this will allow the hibiscus to fully steep and release all its tangy flavor).
  2. Strain into a jar, add desired amount of sweetener, and stir until your sweetener of choice is dissolved. Enjoy immediately over ice with a wheel of lime, or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For an extra frothy drink, add 1 cup of the agua de jamaica to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until the outside feels icy, about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with more ice, garnish with a lime wheel, and enjoy!

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