Looking for a way to up your beverage game? You’ve got to try hibiscus tea (AKA agua de jamaica)! Today we have a twofer: A Ginger Hibiscus Martini and a Mocktail. They start with the same base – strong hibiscus tea and fresh squeezed lemon juice. The martini gets finished with muddled fresh ginger, gin, and dry vermouth, while the mocktail is topped off with non-alcoholic ginger beer. I have a sneaking suspicion this one may become a summer favorite!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration
I must confess. My motivation in coming up with a suitable non-alcoholic substitute for the Ginger Hibiscus Martini (martinis are my favorite!) is in part selfish. I love cocktails, but I also love being healthy and watching my weight.
At 58, this has become more of a challenge. I drink still and sparkling water, but let’s face it, they’re just not that exciting. I swore off sodas years ago, and even an afternoon iced tea has begun to give me trouble (caffeine issues).
My favorite bartender (and husband Mark😍) and I decided the solution might lie in creating equally interesting “mocktails.” The Ginger Hibiscus Mocktail is exactly the kind of beverage we were after!
What do you know of hibiscus (sorrel, jamaica) other than its gorgeous hue? The anthocyanin (purple and red hued antioxidants) present in hibiscus tea means it is loaded with health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, improved organ health, possible decreased risk of cancer, among others.
The hibiscus tea is made with the dried calyces (protection for the flower bud of angiosperms), not the actual flower petals.
The tart flavor of hibiscus is similar to cranberry juice. It is naturally caffeine-free, and a great alternative to iced black tea to quench your thirst. You can make a hot cup of hibiscus tea in just a few minutes, and a properly brewed tea for other uses requires only about 15-20 minutes (to cool completely). Enjoy it year ’round, but I find the gorgeous hue particularly pleasing in spring and summer!
Is Hibiscus Healthy?
In a word? YES! Hibiscus tea is classified as an “herbal” tea, though the tea is made with the calyx part of the hibiscus plant that supports the flower. Studies show that it may aid in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.Hibiscus tea is naturally calorie and caffeine free, and anthocyanins (antioxidant pigments) are heart healthy.
As with all foods, moderation is key. Hibiscus is not approved as a food supplement as of today. For more information see What’s to Know About Hibiscus Tea.
📋 Ingredients Notes
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus, .25 ounce
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1.5 ounces hibiscus tea
- 1.5 ounces Meyer (or other) fresh lemon juice
- 6 slices fresh ginger, sliced very thin
- 4.5 ounces gin
- 1.5 ounces white vermouth
- lemon twists, for garnish
- 1.5 ounces hibiscus tea, 1 shot
- 1.5 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 shot
- non-alcoholic ginger beer
- Start both drinks with a strong and slightly sweetened hibiscus tea – Bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil, remove from the heat, add the dried hibiscus, and allow to cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Sweeten to taste. I suggest 1 tablespoon of agave nectar. I like it somewhat tart, but you may prefer it sweeter.
- Prep the ingredients – While the tea cools, assemble the other ingredients. For the martini, you’ll need several thin slices of fresh ginger. Both beverages get fresh squeezed lemon juice. Use Meyer lemon if you can get one.
- Make the drinks – Once the tea is cool, your drink is only a shake, pour, and stir away! For the Ginger Hibiscus Martini, muddle the ginger with the lemon juice and the hibiscus tea, then add gin and vermouth. Shake and strain into a martini glass. The Ginger Hibiscus Mocktail includes the ginger slices muddled with the lemon juice, and the hibiscus tea. It gets shaken and strained into a highball glass with ice, and topped off with non-alcoholic ginger beer. Voilà!
- How do I store the leftover tea? Store leftover tea in an airtight jar for another use. The “jury is out” on length of time. Hibiscus tea is acidic, and keeps longer than regular brewed tea. It doesn’t “go bad,” rather, it loses its freshness. I recommend 1-2 weeks max, but you can taste it and see… I have actually seen 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 years!
- Isn’t ginger beer alcoholic? It can be, but most often, is not. My husband and I LOVE non-alcoholic Bundaberg Ginger Beer. As I mentioned in the post, we’re trying to watch the amount of alcohol and calories we consume, and their Diet Ginger Beer has only 25 calories per bottle. We split 1 bottle between the two highball glasses, making this a really calorie-conscious choice!
I’m working on Gluten Free Tarts with Vanilla Pudding, Berries, and a Hibiscus Glaze, and that’s a great way to use the remaining hibiscus tea… I’ve also included some additional possibilities at the end of the post!