I am still working my way through the bags of dried hibiscus I had my Mom send me from Trader Joes several months ago and I found the recipe for this Sin-Ger Thirst Quencher from Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry. This refreshing drink it somewhat seasonless with the tang of the hibiscus and lemon and the spicy warmth of the ginger. With the Vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, and iron and antioxidants in the hibiscus, it makes for a healthy "Simple Saturday Sipper".
According to Terry, the drink was inspired by one at a Senegalese restaurant called Joloff in Brooklyn, where they combine a traditional Caribbean drink called "sorrel" that is made from dried red hibiscus with a ginger drink. Dried hibiscus can be purchased at health or specialty stores and according to Bryant Terry, in Caribbean or Latin markets where it is called "sorrel".
Sin-Ger Thirst Quencer
Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry
(Yield 12-14 Servings)
13 1/2 cups water
1 cup (about 1 ounce) dried hibiscus
1 cup fresh ginger juice (from 2 packed cups freshly grated ginger--see below)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
1 cup agave nectar or simple syrup
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine 7 cups water with the hibiscus. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile in a 1 gallon pitcher combine the ginger juice, lemon juice, agave nectar, and the remaining water and stir well. Refrigerate.
Allow the hibiscus drink to cool for 2 hours and then strain into the pitcher with the ginger drink mixture. Mix well and refrigerate until cool. Serve over ice.
Note: For ginger juice: To get ginger juice from ginger knobs, grate them on a coarse grater (no need to peel) or pulverize them in a food processor. Wrap them in cheese cloth and squeeze to extract all the juice. You can also squeeze the pulp through your hands without cheesecloth in batches and then strain the juice.
Notes/Results: An excellent drink, tangy and not too sweet, (I did lessen the amount of the agave syrup it called for a bit), the drink has a great combination of flavors. I had some ginger juice from a company that makes it here in Hawaii, but it is easy enough to make on your own. Hibiscus has been used for weight loss, strengthening the immune system, preventing bladder infections, curing constipation and is thought to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure and controlling cholesterol. Ginger is known for its ability to sooth gastrointestinal distress and its antioxidant properties among other benefits. Delicious and good for you too--what could be better?