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Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Cooler)

When Thursday's dinner crew decided to cook and serve a meal with Mexican dishes, I asked them about special beverages from that country and they opted to make Agua de Jamaica and Horchata

Agua de Jamaica translates to 'hibiscus water' and is an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers* and sweetener. It's easy to make and perfect as an ahead-of-time concoction. Some people call it 'hibiscus tea,' but as tea technically requires leaves from the camellia bush, I would go with 'hibiscus tisane,'  but 'cooler' works, too.

makes 1-1/2 quarts of concentrate

  • 2 C organic hibiscus flowers
  • 8 C cold water

Cooler makes 6 servings
  • 1 C concentrate
  • 1/2 C simple syrup (you can see a recipe here)
  • 4 C water
  • Also needed: ice


Place hibiscus flowers in the bottom of a large pot. Pour in cold water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the flowers and you'll have about 1-1/2 quarts (or approximately 6 C) hibiscus concentrate.

Blend the cooler ingredients together in a large pitcher (the kids used a mixing bowl because our batch was so big!). Chill until ready to serve. Give the pitcher a stir before pouring into individual glasses filled with ice. Serve immediately.

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  1. Thank you so much for this recipe, Camilla! I got one question, though: For the concentrate, you start out with 2 cups of dried hibiscus flowers and 8 cups of water, right? And you get only 1-1/2 cups of concentrate out of all that? Where do the other 6-1/2 cups of water go? Do they all evaporate during the boil or get soaked up by the previously dry flowers? If so, couldn't one squeeze some of that soaked up water out of the flowers again to get more concentrate?
    Thank you in advance for your answer,
    Uncle Jack

  2. Apologies. I have edited. It makes 1-1/2 QUARTS of concentrate, not 1-1/2 C. So you lose about 2 C, not 6-1/2 C.

  3. Thank you, Camilla, for your quick and helpful response. I'll give it a try.
    Uncle Jack


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