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Strawberry Hibiscus Cooler

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Total time 40 mins
Yield

Serves 6 (makes 4 1/2 cups)

With or without the vodka, this sweet-tart drink deserves a spot at brunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers*
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups halved strawberries plus a few quartered or halved berries
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 9 ounces citron vodka or regular vodka (optional)
  • Sparkling water
  • Small mint sprigs or leaves

Nutrition Information

  • calories 106
  • caloriesfromfat 1.3 %
  • protein 0.4 g
  • fat 0.2 g
  • satfat 0.0 g
  • carbohydrate 27 g
  • fiber 1.2 g
  • sodium 0.9 mg
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine hibiscus, 1/3 cup sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let infusion sit, covered, 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, purée halved berries with remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 2 cups cold water. Strain into a metal bowl and stir in lemon juice. Set in a bowl of ice and water until cold.

  3. Strain hibiscus infusion into another metal bowl and set in a bowl of ice and water until cold. (Discard soaked hibiscus, or see "Hibiscus flowers," below.) Combine hibiscus infusion and berry purée in a pitcher.

  4. Fill glasses with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. vodka to each if you like, followed by about 3/4 cup berry cooler. Stir in a splash of sparkling water. Top with quartered berries and mint.

  5. Hibiscus flowers: Try leftover hibiscus flowers as a snack with a glass of mescal, as they do in Mexico. Pat the drained, soaked hibiscus very dry. Deep-fry in vegetable oil, a big spoonful at a time, until dark purple but not black (30 to 45 seconds at 375°); drain and sprinkle with salt.

  6. *Find dried hibiscus, called jamaica in Spanish, at well-stocked grocery stores with Latino foods, at Latino markets, and at worldspice.com.

  7. Make ahead: Through step 3, chilled, up to 1 week; stir before using.

Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per serving without vodka.