Hibiscus Cordial

I became enamored with the idea of homemade cordial during a road trip up to Penticton a few weeks ago.

If you’re ever passing through the Okanagan during summer, definitely stop by the Elephant Island Winery on the Naramata Bench and bust a buck on the gorgeous cherry cordial that they serve (and get a free fruit wine tasting, too)!

Making cordial isn’t even hard — all you need is a few tools and a little patience.

For those of you unfamiliar, hibiscus is a flower with a flavour akin to cranberry, and makes a perfect summer-to-fall “transition” drink. This cordial is slightly sweet, tart, refreshing, and bought to life with a touch of warm spices and a little bit of lemon.

You can mix it up with plain ol’ water for a juice-like beverage, or you can use soda water to make your own fizzy pop — and, if you’re so inclined, you can always drop in a shot of spiced rum.

Dried hibiscus can be hard to find, but if you live in Vancouver then you can buy it at either Kitsilano Natural Foods or Famous Foods.

If you live outside of the Vancouver area (and I know many my regular readers do), then I wish you luck on your Grand Quest For Dried Hibiscus, because this is totally worth making!

Hibiscus Cordial

*adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 heaping cups (3.5oz/100g) dried hibiscus petals
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 3 in/7 cm long
  • 1 tablespoon whole all-spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 & 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • soda water or water, for diluting

Tools

  • large stewing pot with 10 cup capacity
  • heat-proof bowl with 10 cup capacity
  • colander
  • fine mesh strainer
  • funnel
  • resealable bottle(s), to hold (10 cups) cordial

Directions

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring 8 cups of water to a gentle boil.

Add the dried hibiscus petals, cinnamon stick, all spice, cloves, and nutmeg. Cover and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer for 3 hours — the liquid in the pot will have turned a shade of deep crimson.

Warning: this stuff will stain like crazy!

Remove the liquid from the heat and let cool to a temperate that’s warm but safe to handle. Pour the liquid through a colander over a heat-proof bowl to strain out the hibiscus petals.

Press as much liquid as possible out of the mushy petals, then discard the petals and return the liquid to the stove top.

Bring to a simmer once more, then add the brown sugar and vanilla extract to the liquid. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved.

Remove the liquid from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer in order to remove any remaining bits of petals or spices. Your syrupy hibiscus liquid is now ready to become cordial!

Simply add 2 parts water or soda water (depending on whether you prefer your drink flat or fizzy) to 1 part hibiscus liquid — so, for example, if you have 1 cup of hibiscus liquid, just dilute it with 2 cups of water.

Hibiscus cordial can be stored in sealed glass bottles in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

Enjoy it on its own, or make your cordial into a lovely cocktail for end-of-summer sipping. Serve well-chilled with lots of ice!

Hibiscus Cordial Cocktail

  • 1 & 1/2 cups hibiscus cordial, flat or fizzy
  • 1 shot dark or spiced rum
  • splash of lemon juice

Pour the hibiscus cordial into a large glass filled with ice. Add the spiced rum and lemon juice. Stir and serve with a lemon garnish. Yum!

In other news: I’ve totally revamped my Recipe Index — click to check ‘er out!

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6 thoughts on “Hibiscus Cordial

  1. Joanne says:

    This was the most interesting and best non-alcoholic beverage I have ever tasted. Mixed with ice and some lemon made this very refreshing and no doubt good for you. Great recipe!

  2. Janna Lynn says:

    There’s a supermarket down the street from me (Not the Pricesmart, it’s about 2 blocks further) that sells dried hibiscus in East Vancouver.

  3. YUMM! this post makes me thirsty 🙂
    The drink looks so good, I’ve never heard of hibiscus!!

  4. A Tablespoon of Liz says:

    I’ve never had hibiscus, but this looks and sounds delicious. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it! Although, I have no idea where to buy it in rural Indiana…

  5. Kala Burris says:

    I just spent two months in Grenada, where they have a drink made with sorrel (hibiscus). Sometimes its called Jamaican red sorrel. You can find it online, dried. It is amazing! They also used it in tarts and turnovers and they were so delicious. But you have to use fresh for that, i think. You can find recipes for sorrel on just about any Caribbean recipe site.

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