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Hibiscus Lemonade: A "Simple Saturday Sipper" That's Pretty in Pink

Posted Jul 25 2009 12:00am
In the hot, muggy summer nothing tastes better to me than a cold glass of tart and sweet lemonade. A favorite restaurant here, Town makes their house lemonade with a shot of parsley juice in it, giving it a nice kick of herbal flavor. Their sister restaurant, Downtown at The Hawaii State Art Museum puts a hibiscus (and maybe strawberry?) syrup in their lemonade, making it a pretty pink color. Since I still have several packages of dried hibiscus flowers left, I thought I would make some Hibiscus Lemonade at home, a perfect "Simple Saturday Sipper."

Hibiscus Lemonade
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen, inspired by Downtown
(Makes about 8 cups)

Hibiscus Syrup:
3 cups water
2 cups (2 oz) dried, sweetened hibiscus flowers or hibiscus or Red Zinger tea bags
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine water, hibiscus flowers, and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Let cool, strain tea into small pitcher, discarding flowers. Refrigerate until very cold.

2 cups sugar or 1/2 cup agave syrup
2 cups water
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 13-16 lemons)
Additional cold water and or ice to dilute lemonade mixture

Combine the sugar or agave and water in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes, until mixture is slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, squeeze the lemons into a pitcher, discarding the seeds and rind. Stir the sugar syrup into the lemon juice then top it off with 2-3 cups of cold water, or add water to taste. Chill until very cold.

To serve: 
Fill a glass 3/4 full with lemonade. Pour about 2 ounces of the hibiscus syrup on top garnish with lemon slices and a pink umbrella. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: Cold, refreshing, tart-sweet and very pink. I sweetened the lemonade with agave to lessen the amount of sugar in the drink a bit. I like my lemonade on the tart side, so play around with the sweetener to get it the way you like it. If you can't find dried hibiscus, Red Zinger tea will work just fine. With the Vitamin C in the lemons (and the hibiscus), as well as the riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron and antioxidants in the hibiscus, it makes for a healthy, delicious drink.

Happy Saturday!

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