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Get creative: How to use hibiscus in your cocktails this spring

How to use hibiscus in cocktails

Hibiscus tea in a cup.
Photo by Tea Creative │ Soo Chung on Unsplash / Unsplash

Hibiscus is a great ingredient to incorporate into your cocktail game. Offering radiant color and a unique flavor, the flower is often converted to tea but also can be used as a syrup, lesser-known liqueur, soda, and more. And we especially like it in a good spring cocktail, as hibiscus is both floral and refreshing.

Why hibiscus in a cocktail? Because your mixology game could use a little creativity. There are enough boring cocktails out there made with the same old lineup of ingredients. Those are fine for regulars, but you’re a budding cocktail artist.

We’ve already seen hibiscus do well in certain flavored beers as well as infused into dessert pastries. Now, it’s time for the summertime bloomer to enter the cocktail realm.

Look out for extracts at specialty stores, and if you can get your hands on actual hibiscus flowers, they’re great for garnishes. Add presentation points to your drinks. Plays around with like-mined flavors, like the bergamot in Italicus or spicy peppers and salt rims. If the cocktail is refreshing by nature, a splash of hibiscus rarely hurts (and often adds another interesting layer, not to mention eye-catching color).

Read on for a handful of great hibiscus drinks, all relatively easy to make and delicious to sip on.

Hibiscus Margarita

Sorel Hibiscus Margarita.
Sorel / Sorel

Sorel is a great option for a hibiscus liqueur. A true international beverage, liqueur is made with Moroccan hibiscus, Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, and nutmeg. It mixes exceptionally well but it also tasty on its own, sipped neat or hit with some soda water. Try the following out for a distinctive spin on a Margarita.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 ounces Sorel
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila (we suggest Hiatus blanco)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup

Method:

  1. Add tequila, Sorel, lime juice, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with lime (salt rim optional).

Steel Hibiscus

Steel Hibiscus cocktail.
Sorel

Made at Herbsaint in New Orleans, this drink is tropical and plays off the subtle spice of the aged gin. The tropical kick from the passion fruit is a nice bonus.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 ounce Sorel
  • 1 ounce Ransom Old Tom Gin
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a tin and shake.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass with large ice cube and garnish with citrus.

Hibiscus Mule

Sorel Mule cocktail.
Sorel / Sorel

Pulled from the great cocktail book called The Seasonal Cocktail by Jason Hedges, this drink is a delightful reinterpretation of a classic. The hibiscus drink uses tea to impart some color and flavor and works great alongside the ginger and pear notes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce ginger and pear syrup
  • 1/4 ounce hibiscus tea
  • 1 ounce Q Mixers Ginger Beer

Sorel Spritz

Sorel Spritz cocktail.
Sorel / Sorel

Created by Jaylynn Little, this cocktail leverages a more complex syrup to great results. It’s a little Caribbean, a little rustic, and a lot of good. You can even serve it warm and change up the herb bill come wintertime.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Sorel
  • 3 ounces Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce black pepper & rosemary simple syrup
  • 3 Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Splash of soda water

Method:

  1. Add to a spritz or wine glass.
  2. Add ice and sparkling wine.
  3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and orange slice.

The Velvet Lounge

Sorel Velvet Lounge cocktail.
Sorel / Sorel

This hot cocktail recipe could not be easier to make and is great for a chillier spring evening. Simply warm, pour, and sip.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces Sorel

Method:

  1. Warm Sorel in a saucepan until light steam is achieved.
  2. Pour in your favorite mug and enjoy.

Jubilee Punch

Alcoholic cocktail with pieces of fruit and berries in a bowl
Getty Images / Getty

The work of Tiffany Barriere, this hibiscus cocktail is great to have on hand for parites. Keep in mind it’s made for the punchbowl, meaning it’s a large format cocktail with several servings. Use the recipe as a template and play around with the included fruits to your liking (and according to the season).

Ingredients:

  • 50 mililitres Sorel Liqueur
  • 1 1/4 cups Ten to One White Rum
  • 1 1/4 cups cups lemon juice
  • 1 1/14 cups cups pure cane syrup
  • 10 cups Earl Stevens Sparkling Watermelon Wine
  • Assortment of berries for garnish

Method:

  1. Build in a punch bowl with ice.
  2. Stir and serve.

With the above in your repertoire, you’ll be set, whether you’re hosting friends or just looking forward to a refreshing and spring-focused cocktail. Sip one outside, close your eyes, and imagine you’re somewhere tropical where hibiscus thrives.

For a great daytime and low-octane beverage, trying mixing up Sorel or a similar liqueur with any number of flavored sodas or seltzers. It’s a great way to bring some flavored bubbly water to life. Cheers!

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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