One of the most glorious things in life is when something so delicious and refreshing is also great for our health. Some recipes, like this tea for example, make it really easy to be health conscious. When I was gifted a big bag of dried hibiscus leaves from my mother-in-law, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Summer temperatures are in full bloom here and iced tea recipes are in full force.
My in-laws are Salvadoran so they refer to hibiscus tea as “Agua de Jamaica.” You can find this common drink at most taquerias alongside a few other homemade Agua Fresca recipes that are infused with nature’s finest ingredients. Agua de Jamaica is a simple and refreshing choice that holds a rich, ruby red color.
As for health benefits, hibiscus contains a generous source of Vitamin C and aids in treating high blood pressures and cholesterol levels. It helps heal and support compromised digestive systems and is a great overall immunity booster.
For my summer brew, I decided to add in a little bit of extra flavor and sparkle for a perfect sun drink full of bright flavors and fun. Traditionally, hibiscus tea is simply just water infused with the dried leaves and some sweetener, but the slightly tart beverage can easily be modified to match whatever you are in the mood for.
Sparkling Hibiscus Iced Tea
*Makes 1⁄2 a gallon
4 cups water
1.5 cups dried hibiscus leaves
1⁄2 Tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 cinnamon stick
1⁄2 small lime (juice of)
1⁄2 navel orange (juice of)
2 packages of stevia (equivalent to 4 Tsp. of sugar)*
1 cup Sparkling mineral water (I used Perrier)
*I used stevia but you can use any all natural sweetener you prefer. My recipe is not very sweet so be sure to adjust the sweeter amount to your desired preference.
In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse your hibiscus leaves under cold water.
Once the water is boiling, add the hibiscus flowers, the grated ginger root, and the cinnamon stick and remove the pot from the heat. Steep for 10-15 minutes.
Strain the flowers, gingerroot, and cinnamon stick out of the tea using a fine mesh sieve.
Add the freshly squeezed lime juice, orange juice, and stevia or natural sweetener of choice and stir well.
Chill completely. Just before serving, add ice and a generous splash or two of sparkling water.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”