Many of us in western countries know Hibiscus as a dry, dark burgundy red colour flower. But in Asia & West Africa this same species of wild flower is known as Rosella.
I fell in love with hibiscus whilst I was learning about the Caribbean drinking culture and came across sorrell, a non-alcoholic beverage made out of hibiscus; it was also during this time that I learnt of several hibiscus syrup and infusion recipes. I had forgotten all about this flower until rosella tea was offered to me.
Hibiscus is cultivated for their showy flowers. Over the centuries hibiscus became an important part of several cultures: it is the national flower of Haiti, South Korea, Malaysia, the symbol of gods in India, while in Philippines children crush the flower and leaves until a sticky juice comes out, they combine it together with soap to create a base for bubbles, which are then blown through hollow papaya stalks.
In many countries all around the world the flowers of hibiscus or rosella enjoy wide culinary use. As a beverage they are steeped in hot water to extract the colour and tangy flavour and can be served hot or cold. In Mexico, the dried hibiscus is an edible delicacy, usually candied or used as a garnish for deserts.
The rosella leaves are used as a souring vegetable ingredient in salads and used in many other dishes for its dryness and colour.
For today’s cocktail recipe that we have prepared for you is based on the rosella syrup which you learnt about from our previous post about Cinco de Mayo.
15 ml Rosella Syrup*
100 ml Dry champagne
Combine both ingredients in champagne flute gently stir and garnish with dry rosella flower.