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Agua de Jamaica

Agua de Jamaica is a delicious herbal tea from Mexico. It has a strongly refreshing, sweet taste, and is a beautiful ruby red color. It is offered by some Mexican restaurants as a refreshing alternative to iced tea. Hibiscus flowers are called jamaica in Spanish. (Pronouced ha-MIKE-ah -- not like the Caribbean island)
Rinse and drain the dried jamaica flowers in a large colander. Bring the water to a vigorous boil. Stir in the jamaica flowers. Stir continuously for one minute while the mixture boils.

Remove from heat, and let steep for two hours.

Strain the mixture, pressing the leaves so all the juice squeezes out. Discard the flowers. Taste. If it is too tart for your taste, add more water and/or sugar to correct for tartness and sweetness. Lemons and limes also add a very nice tang. This drink is served cold, transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate before serving.
Makes 6 servings.

Prep time: 2 hours; Cooking time: 15 minutes; Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Agua de Jamaica Notes

Wet hibiscus leaves are very strong in color and flavor. Be careful to steep your tea in a bowl that will not stain.

Serve agua de jamaica as a substitute for regular iced tea. Hibiscus flowers are rich in Vitamin C. Dried hibiscus flowers may be tough to find, but they are more and more available in bulk at health food stores. (In Austin, they are available inexpensively at HEB grocery stores) Look for them near bulk coffee and teas, or order hibiscus flowers online

In America, this drink is very similar to Red Zinger herbal tea, but do try using the real hibiscus leaves. The difference in taste is significant.

Jamaica are dried hibiscus flowers H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa and are also called roselle or Jamaican sorrel.

Readers may want to also read Patricia Mitchell's article on how to make iced tea.
Kitchen tools you'll need: Carafes & Pitchers, Teapots, Tea Kettles
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