Been intrigued by that $10 box of hibiscus tea that seems to be popping up everywhere lately? Just keep walking, to the nearest African or Latin market, and buy the real stuff. Known by many different names (sorrel, flor de Jamaica, roselle, arhul ka phool, and on and on), this little red flower is beloved just about everywhere.
In Niger, it’s called bissap, and is the basis of this super pleasing drink. You should make it. Right now.
Adapted from a recipe at Seeking the Songhai
- 2 cups dark red, dried hibiscus flowers
2 cups sugar*
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups pineapple juice
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, bring 2 quarts of water to boiling.
Remove from heat and add the hibiscus.
- Steep for at least 10 minutes.
- Separate the flowers and leaves from the water with a strainer.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, and pineapple juice. Let cool.
- Transfer to a pitcher, and serve over ice with few fresh mints leaves as a garnish.
This also makes GREAT ice pops. I plan on having some bissap pops in my freezer at all times. I’m eating one right now, as a matter of fact.
- Just pour into ice pop molds, or ice cube trays, freeze, and enjoy.
*Hibiscus is tart, which I really like. I personally found the above amount of sugar to be overly sweet. The next time I make this for drinking, I’ll use less. For the ice pops however, the sweetness level works really well as-is.