After dropping into Selby's Tropical Market to pick up a few pounds of bacalao (salted cod) for a riff on brandade, I was drawn to a small bag of dried hibiscus flowers. I was so taken aback by their absurd exotic oddity that I almost forgot about the salted cod. That's another tale.
Using a deep sauce pan, I brought 4 cups water, 3 whole allspice berries, a small peeled knob of ginger, and 1 cup sugar to a boil. When the sugar dissolved, I tumbled 1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers into bubbling water, let it rip for a couple of minutes, removed the pan from the heat, and covered the pan before letting the flowers re-hydrate and steep for 45 minutes.
When the concentrated purple tea cooled, I strained the solids, added 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup fresh lime juice. After pouring the tea into a large glass pitcher, I slid it into the refrigerator to chill.
With hints of spicy ginger and bright lime juice poking through the sassy cranberry-like undertones of the hibiscus, the tea was fantastic simply chilled over ice.
A shot of vodka made it happy.
A heavy handed splash of Veuve Clicquot made it sing.