If you’ve ever been to La Cocina Que Canta, The Ranch’s Cooking School, you know that the kitchen staff frequently welcome guests with icy glasses of hibiscus agua fresca. The floral, tart, and ruby red liquid has an invigorating effect after the Organic Breakfast Hike or before a hands-on-cooking class. It’s bound to perk you up.
1 gallon or 16 8 oz servings
1 ounce of dried hibiscus flowers*
1 cup of lime or lemon juice
Handful of fresh mint
1 gallon of purified water
Garnish: mint sprigs or lime slices
Bring four cups of water to a boil. Add the dried hibiscus flowers to the water and simmer for five minutes. Take off the heat, and let the water cool. Next, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add fresh mint leaves to the water and boil for three minutes. Take off the heat, and let the water cool. Strain the hibiscus and mint waters through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Discard or compost the hibiscus flowers and mint sprigs. Pour the remaining liquid into a one-gallon drink dispenser. Add ice and purified water to fill to the top. Give the agua fresca a good stir. Serve in glasses filled with ice cubes and garnished with mint sprigs or lime slices.
*Dried hibiscus, or jamaica, can be found at tea and specialty stores.