Lemony with floral overtones, Hibiscus Lemonade is a tasty and refreshing summer beverage. Serve alone or with a meal like a special brunch!
Lately, I’ve been seeing beautiful pictures of hibiscus beverages –and they always look amazing. So to get on the bandwagon, I bought a big bag of dried hibiscus. Then I made some tea—and I didn’t like it. Oops.
But Hibiscus Lemonade saved the day. Beautifully rosy, and flavored like lemonade with slight floral overtones, I liked it so much I made a pitcher.
And pretty soon my just-give-me-a diet-coke husband was helping himself. Now that’s a win!
Just in time for summer!
What is Hibiscus
Per Wikipedia, “Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae… that are native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.” Commonly known by the name Rose of Sharon they have large showy flowers and are popular ornamentals.
The species used for tea here is generally Hibiscus sabdariffa–other species may or may not be safe for consumption. While popular here primarily for use as a beverage, other countries use the plant for food or medicine.
Per WebMD, “Hibiscus sabdariffa is a plant considered safe in common food amounts. As a tea, it may be beneficial for high blood pressure. The fruit acids in Hibiscus sabdariffa might work like a laxative. Other chemicals in Hibiscus sabdariffa might be able to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of sugar and fats in the blood, reduce swelling, and work like antibiotics.” But they also cite some precautions, like drug interactions, pregnancy precautions, etc. so be aware of that.
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. Lemonade is a delicious and refreshing beverage in the first place. Add subtle, slightly floral overtones and it is even better!
Pretty. They say you eat with your eyes first. And how do you beat this rosy pink color that brings a fresh breath of spring!
All Natural. Have you been ready the studies about limiting processed food? Made with just dried hibiscus, lemon juice and zest and honey (or another sweetener), this is an all natural beverage that won’t leave you feeling deprived!
What You’ll Need
- Water. You’ll use some boiling water, some cold water, and possibly ice.
- Lemons. These provide the lemon flavor and nutrition. You’ll use both the juice and some zest.
- Dried Hibiscus flowers. Culinary hibiscus adds color and nuanced flavor to the lemonade. You can also use hibiscus tea.
- Honey, sugar or sweetener. Lemon is tart so some sweetener is needed.
- Optional gin or vodka for a Hibiscus Collins.
- Extra lemon and/or lime slices, mint sprigs, etc as optional garnish.
- A microplane is good for zesting the lemon.
- A citrus press makes juicing easier though you can also do by hand.
Step by Step Directions
Zest the lemon.
Add the lemon zest, crushed hibiscus petals and honey, sugar or sweetener to a tea pot or ceramic bowl, then cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes to extract the flavors.
Roll the lemons on a hard surface to break up the internal membranes then juice them.
Strain the hibiscus water, then combine with the lemon juice and cold water.
Serve over ice or store in refrigerator.
How to Serve
Hibiscus Lemonade works well as a delicious beverage alone or with a meal.
Since it’s not difficult or time-consuming to prepare, you can easily prepare by the glass. But for a bigger group, or to have leftovers, you can also make it by the pitcher.
When serving, consider garnishing with slices of lemon–and optional lime slices for color variation. I also like to top with a sprig of fresh mint if available.
Had a rough day and need something stronger? Add a shot of vodka or gin to turn this from a Hibiscus Lemonade mocktail to a Hibiscus Lemonade Cocktail. Hibiscus Collins anyone?
Variations and Special Diets
There are many other delicious floral lemonades. In spring and early summer it’s fun to make a foraged wild violet lemonade that’s pretty in purple!
And my Lavender Collins can easily be made as a tasty mocktail.
And although it’s not floral, Rhubarb Lemonade is another delicious spring lemonade option.
What a way to welcome the season!
Hibiscus Lemonade is already vegan and vegetarian, so no conversion is needed there. And if you want to go zero-sugar or low-carb, you can use a sweetener instead of sugar. I have made it successfully with both allulose and erythritol sweeteners. Just remember that these may be slightly less sweet than sugar so be ready to increase the amount if needed.
Preparation and Leftovers
I like this so well, I usually make the pitcher amount even if it’s just for my husband and I. Then I pour the leftovers into a quart canning jar, cover and place in the refrigerator. Then it’s an easy treat the next day! It never lasts longer than another day or two!
Tips & FAQs
Here is an old tea-making trick I learned studying in Ireland. If you are steeping the hibiscus in a tea pot, you can warm the tea pot first for best results. In that case, the pot won’t cool down the steeping water at all. Just fill your tea pot with very hot tap water, or an inch of boiling water, cover and let sit for a few minutes, then pour out. Then proceed to steep your ingredients.
When I make a single glass, I usually crush my hibiscus petals by hand. When I make a pitcher, I used a small scoop to do it faster. They are roughly crushed, not pulverized. Of course if you’re using tea bags you can skip this.
The bright yellow part of the lemon peel is very flavorful and actually quite nutritious. The white pith underneath is also nutritious but rather bitter. So I like to zest using a microplane which is good at getting off the bright outer layer and leaving the pith.
When you are zesting a lemon, you want to do this before you juice it. A firm lemon is much easier to zest than the floppy post-juicing peel pieces. After zesting, you can roll your lemon on a hard surface like a countertop, to break up some of the juice cells to extract the most juice.
Watch the amount of ice you use. I use a lot for photos, but in real life I use less to keep the melting from diluting the lemonade.
Welcome to #BrunchWeek! This event has been around for over 7 years. It’s a fun way to share our love for all things brunch related to help celebrate Mother’s Day! We have 11 bloggers sharing over 30 recipes this year!! That’s 30 plus delicious recipes to help celebrate mothers, family, and friends. If you’re putting together a brunch, then you’ll appreciate all the variety this event offers! From cocktails to baked goods and even sandwiches, there’s something for everyone.
Here are today’s #BrunchWeek recipes:
- Caramel Simple Syrup from Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Chipotle Tacos de Papa from Magical Ingredients
- Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing from For the Love of Food
- Guava and Cream Cheese Pastelitos from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Hibiscus Lemonade from Art of Natural Living
- Key Lime Curd Mousse from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake Muffins from The Spiffy Cookie
- Orange Cream Scones from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Peanut butter, Bacon and Banana Stuffed Waffles from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Spreadable Whipped Cream Cheese (for bagels) from Palatable Pastime
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 T lemon zest
- 2 T crushed hibiscus flowers (probably about 3-4 tea bags if using)
- 1 c lemon juice
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 c sugar honey or sweetener (you might go as low as 1/3 cup if you are used to less sweet flavors)
- optional gin or vodka for a Hibiscus Collins
- Zest the lemon.
- Add the lemon zest, crushed hibiscus petals and honey, sugar or sweetener to a tea pot or ceramic bowl, then cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes to extract the flavors.
- Roll the lemons on a hard surface to break up the internal membranes then juice them.
- Strain the hibiscus water, then combine with the lemon juice and cold water.
- Serve over ice or store in refrigerator.
- Easy Garlic Butter Sauce
- Sous Vide Yogurt (or Regular Homemade Yogurt)