It feels like La Croix has somehow become more popular than beer. And while it seems to be available everywhere you go, those of us participating in the great seltzer resurgence of 2019 are from time to time faced with beverages without bubbles.
But you don’t have to be part of the problem. You can be the solution, soda-fying all of your favorite teas, juices, and, yes, even cocktails! We aren’t talking caramel-colored, corn syrup laden sodas. We’re simply promoting the addition of your beloved sparkling water-of-choice.
And this time of year, our non-carbonated beverages tend to be hibiscus-focused. The dried, tropical flower of everyone’s luau dreams, hibiscus flowers are hugely popular in the Caribbean and Central America. They are steeped into teas and agua frescas (sometimes called agua de Jamaica), often heavily sweetened.
Hibiscus tea is a little bit bitter and a little bit tart, but very floral. It benefits from the addition of a sweetener, though you don’t often need much to round out the flavors.
You’ll commonly find hibiscus paired with lime juice, but we love it with the addition of fresh ginger and honey, like in this Hibiscus-Ginger Soda. Though you can sweeten your hibiscus tea with simple syrup or agave nectar, floral honey complements those same qualities in the hibiscus flowers in a way no flavorless sweetener can (learn more about honey in our visit to the farmers’ market!).
You can find hibiscus flowers online, or at most Latin American (and many Asian) grocery stores. They’re typically inexpensive and keep well, so you can buy them in bulk and make teas, cocktails, or sodas all summer.