All of a sudden hibiscus is crossing my path and I just had to join the fun with this gorgeous Hibiscus and Rose Spritzer. Roger Jorgensen has flavoured his Primitv Vodka with hibiscus recently and I was spoilt with a champagne and hibiscus cocktail when we photographed at a restaurant recently in France.
We had to spend a day in Dubai as we missed our connection to Cape Town and a friend suggested I visit the Spice Souk in old Dubai. Upon arrival you are greeted with piles of beautiful spices, rose buds and petals and the dark pinkish purple hibiscus petals. Of course there is a lot of jostling by the traders for you to buy from them. But my mind was made up when the one trader greeted me in Afrikaans when he heard I was from South Africa.
But before we get to the spritzer I am pleased to confirm our first Food Photography Workshop with I am hosting with fellow FoodPhoto fotographer Francois Pistorius and well known stylist Isabella Niehaus. It is all happening on the 24th of May and you can get more details here.
The hibiscus syrup is incredibly versatile. It is just the most beautiful colour, the rose water perfumes it and the star anise adds a bit of depth and an exotic spicy undertone. If you do not want to make spritzer, you could easily adapt this Strawberry Sangria or the Mango and Rooibos Tea Sangria buy replacing some of the liquid and adding a cup of the hibiscus syrup. Of course a tablespoon or so of the syrup topped with some bubbly makes for a beautiful and tasty celebratory cocktail.
Just omit the vodka if you want to keep the spritzer non-alcoholic and do taste it as you make it. You might want to add some more syrup if you want the drink to be a bit sweeter or more/less rose water as you prefer. The fun element with these kind of drinks is that you can experiment to your heart’s content.
Drizzle the syrup over some ice cream, mix it with some plain yoghurt or drizzle over a pile of strawberries for dessert. The options really are endless. The recipe yields about a litre and store the syrup in a seal able bottle in the fridge for up to 3 months.
As mentioned I did buy the petals in Dubai and if anyone can tell me where in South Africa I can get them, please let me know.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 star anise
- the zest of 1 lemon cut into strips
- good pinch of salt
- few drops rose water
- 15ml vodka per person
- 30ml hibiscus syrup per person
- soda water
- lemon slices for garnish
- Place all the syrup ingredients except the rose water in a heavy bottomed pot
- Bring to the boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes
- Remove from the heat, add the rose water, cover and let the syrup infuse for another 10 minutes
- Strain and decant into an airtight bottle
- Once the syrup is cool make the spritzers by adding the vodka and syrup in a glass with some ice cubes
- Top with soda water and garnish with lemon and serve immediately