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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.