Looking for a refreshing, unconventional, not-toothachingly-sweet, summer cooler? Look no further than Hibiscus Tea, rather Lemonade.
If you have a flowering hibiscus plant at home, this is the perfect recipe for you. You could also make Hibiscus Tea with dried hibiscus petals. Yes, just the petals are used for this hibiscus herbal tea / lemonade.
Usually, Hibiscus tea is made using the petals of the Roselle variety of hibiscus. I have used the red Hibiscus flowers grown and available in India.
While steeping Hibiscus Tea you could add dried or fresh herbs or choice – I like to add a few dried or fresh mint leaves. Other dried or fresh herbs like lemongrass, basil, lavender… also blend beautifully with the flavours of hibiscus.
When making hibiscus tea on cooler days, you could add warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves…
Once I strain the petals from the hibiscus tea, I like to add a few drops of lime juice – besides adding flavour and a lot more vitamin C than there is already, lime juice also gives you a clearer hibiscus beverage.
I also add a teaspoon of basil seeds (sabja / tukmaria) to my recipe of Hibiscus Iced Tea after it cools down to ambient temperature. Basil seeds or sabja (yes, the stuff that’s added to kulfi falooda) is nutrient rich: high in protein, minerals and vitamins…
Bonus: sabja has cooling properties which makes it perfect for summers!
If you have chia seeds handy, use those!
Basil seeds and Chia seeds are both from the mint plant family, substitute one for the other.
Oh, and I add honey to my recipe of Hibiscus Iced Tea once it’s cooled down, as a sweetener. Of course you could add sugar, brown sugar, jaggery, date syrup, maple syrup, stevia… or any natural sweetener of choice. I do however, suggest that you do not over-sweeten your version of Hibiscus Tea and kill the flavours.
I prefer to serve Hibiscus herbal tea chilled rather than warm as hibiscus has a slightly tart flavour, much like cranberries, which for me is best enjoyed chilled. Of course on cooler days, one could serve it warm too.
Hibiscus tea is packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals… could aid weight loss, adds essential vitamins and minerals to your diet and could also help fight bacteria, among other benefits. Hibiscus herbal tea or lemonade is also good for your skin and hair.
Note (more of a friendly warning): as much as hibiscus tea comes with a plethora of goodness, it is known to be a natural diuretic and could possibly lower blood pressure. Hibiscus tea must therefore, be consumed in limited quantities. Even though this herbal lemonade is a refreshing summer cooler, moderation and a little caution is needed. I would say one cup a day is good but then I also recommend you get professional advice.
If you wish to make a base “syrup” to store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, use half the quantity of water mentioned in this recipe. When serving, use equal measures of hibiscus tea (syrup) and soda or chilled water.
Makes 1 litre of Hibiscus Tea (lemonade)
Time taken: 5-10 minutes (active time)
Ingredients to make Hibiscus Tea
8-10 Hibiscus flowers (fresh)*
*If you’re using dried hibiscus petals, we need about 45-50 petals.
1 litre of water
½ tsp dried mint leaves, crushed
Juice of 1 lime (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp basil seeds / sabja (tukmaria) or chia seeds
Method of making Hibiscus Tea
Note: for this particular recipe I do recommend you read the notes above, especially the friendly warning about the quantity to be consumed.
Separate the petals from the hibiscus flowers. We do not need any of the other parts of the flowers for this recipe. Wash the petals well.
Bring 1 litre of water to a boil with the crushed mint leaves. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, take it off the heat and stir in the hibiscus petals. Cover the vessel and let the hibiscus petals and mint steep for 15-20 minutes.
By now the water has turned a bright red. Strain the hibiscus tea and discard the petals. Add lime juice and mix well. You will notice the hibiscus tea turning a shade brighter and clearer.
Cover the vessel and leave the hibiscus tea to cool to ambient temperature.
Then add honey and basil seeds or chia seeds. Mix well and place your Hibiscus Herbal Tea in the refrigerator to chill. This version of Hibiscus Tea is ready to drink.
Serve Hibiscus Tea chilled and over ice!
If you would like to make a base syrup to store for a week or two, use half a litre of water instead of 1 litre. The quantities of the rest of the ingredients remain unchanged. When serving, add ice to half a glass of the base syrup and top it up with soda or lemonade or just chilled water and your Hibiscus Iced Tea or Lemonade is ready!
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