Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

Refreshing drink made with an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • A few thin slices ginger (optional)
  • Allspice berries (optional)
  • Lime juice (optional)
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish

Method

1 Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a few allspice berries if you would like. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.

2 Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or allspice berries.

(At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.)

3 Add remaining 4 cups of water (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill. Alternatively you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version. Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.

Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.

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Comments

  • Carl Stoeckel

    Here in Southern Arizona, I make a sun tea version, dispensing with the simmering. The midsummer sun does that for me. Once strained, the infusion is hot enough to add the sweetener of choice. I generally add the citrus just before serving a chilled glass. A bit of carbonation, I agree, adds to the refreshing quality of this, one of my favorite authentic SW drinks. The blossoms become handy mulch, and the desert tortoise who resides here has been known to chew them down, too. Thanks for your post.

  • Marcus Phelps-Munson

    I serve this to my garden club members, it’s always a hit and extra special because it’s made of flowers.

  • MJennaC

    I also enjoy adding a bit of lavender to my recipe. A great drink after a long day! I like to use local raw honey in mine instead of sugar, when I have it.

  • Commenter

    Good idea. But how do you dry your own hibiscus.

    • Elise

      I don’t know. I suggest doing a google search.

  • Tom Foudy.

    Greetings Elise, I”ve started drinking Jamaica in Mexico where I live in retirement’
    When I was told to give up soft drinks, to eliminate sugar I switched totally to “Jamaica”
    and I love the taste and flavor;I use splenda for sweetener and have lost 10 lbs.

  • Maria del Rosario Soria-Valenzuela

    Hi Elise: I have had some Jamaica in my pantry and tried a few times to make it like my Mami used to make it for us as children, and it never turned out quite like hers. I was boiling the Jamaica along with the sugar and then straining it. I guess i should have paid more attention to when she made it, huh? I will try it your way and put it in to let it seep after the water and sugar has boiled. That should give me the results I have been looking for. Thanks so much for this recipe.
    And, by the way, the comment about Jamaica lowering your blood pressure is true. I heard that from a nutritionist also.

  • Terri

    Hello. Please excuse me for asking another question. My daughter has a weird preference of excluding ANY spice. I’m trying to broaden her taste being our culture that uses spices (Asian). Can you recommend me any combination that would taste interesting that they would want a refill? Thank you very much.

    Just skip the spices, the agua de jamaica will be fine without them. ~Elise

  • JJ

    Wow, this looks great! Mother Earth News just had an article about hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure and then I saw this recipe! I will have to try it.

  • Sophie

    The ginger and cinnamon is a great add, i usually make it with just water and sugar.
    I would just like to add that this is a very popular drink in Egypt and there it is called “Karkadeh”.

  • Elany

    Hi Elise, I’m from Mexico, here “agua de Jamaica” is made from Hibiscus sabdariffa, is different from the flower you mention in your recipe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_sabdariffa

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_tea

    It is really wonderful and refreshing…

    PS. I really love your recipes!!!

  • Jamie

    By far the best Recipe site I have found bar none – just love the format, information and recipes.

    I am from Jamaica and this is traditionally a Christmas drink but is taken all year round. It is called Sorrel and your recipe is dead on minus the lime juice and oranges (garnish with hibiscus flower instead)… and of course from Jamaica it would not be festive without the rum.

  • Elvie

    thanks for the recipe. I grew up drinking agua de jamaica and i can never figure out the recipe to my liking and my mom doesn’t do recipes….so this is a great help! this drink also makes great popsicles.

  • Lawork4me

    Absolutely delicious!!!

  • SSSV

    We love adding a little bit of Cointreau or Grand Marnier to our hibiscus tea – yum!

  • Terri

    Where can I get allspice berries? Can I substitute ground allspice?

    You may be able to find allspice berries in the spice section of your grocery store. You can use any spices you want, but ground spices will muddy the drink, as they will not be able to be strained out after seeping. ~Elise

  • m

    In jamaica this is called sorrel. Both the dried flowers and the drink.

  • S.

    Refreshing and sooooo good! I have always wondered how they make these drinks. Thanks for the recipe! :-)

  • Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice

    How absolutely lovely. Perfect for our Spring weather around here!

  • Karla

    I had the most delicious snow cone made with homemade lemon hibiscus syrup at a local market. I’ve been wondering how to make it myself. This post helps. Thanks!

  • DanK

    How long would this last in the fridge?

    Good question. Perhaps a week? Similar to homemade ice tea. ~Elise

  • KEW

    Dear Elise,
    I love your site, so much inspiration and I’ve had great results with your recipes…especially
    when I follow them.

    I must make note on this wonderful recipe because not only is it delicious, but an incredible health tonic.
    First of all, you can’t just take the calyxes off your ornamental bushes. You could make tea, but not the same. What you need are Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes, which turn into these large succulent red fruits that can be used fresh but are usually dried.
    Several clinical studies have shown that this infusion has lowered high blood pressure in people who have hypertension or type 2 diabetes by as much as 22 points in two weeks! I’m not making this up! Do a search. You’ll see what I mean.
    I have to wonder if the reason we all find it so refreshing is not only the cold, full bodied tanginess but the fact that it’s lowering our blood pressure as we drink it!

  • Lily

    Where can I get dried hibiscus flowers?

    At a market catering to Latin Americans, or online. There are links in the post above. ~Elise