Hibiscus/Jamaica/Sorrel/Karkade

One of the last big family trips we took, while I was in the early years of college and “cough” smoking a pipe was to Egypt.

A lot of things about that trip were revelations for me: Savory Breakfasts, Grain Salads, Middle Eastern Tea, African Coffee

But one thing that stuck with me was a hibiscus beverage that was served from spigots by men carrying tanks of it on their backs.

I’d always liked Red Zinger tea, and it was similar, as well as the Mexican hibiscus beverage called “Agua de Jamaica”, but none of these were as cool as the sort of steam punk aesthetic of these men serving hibiscus beverage out of tanks on their backs.

When I started thinking about a second Milk Punch to make for The Coachman, our bar manager remarked that he really liked the color of the first Milk Punch I had ever made. It was a recipe for a Rum based Milk Punch colored with Hibiscus, which I’d adapted from the bar Drink in Boston.

Rum Hibiscus Milk Punch

Not wanting to simply repeat myself, and the guys at Drink, I thought a bit more about it and decided to blend that recipe with the Pisco Milk Punch I’d made for the SF.Chefs.Unite benefit for Japan. Pisco is floral, so it seemed like a natural combination with dried Hibiscus flower tea.

The Punch turned out awesome, but what I’ve been really enjoying is a compound non-alcoholic beverage made with the spiced Hibiscus tea I used to sweeten the punch.

As you know I am often frustrated by the qualities of so-called non-alcoholic adult beverages in the US (Lack of Adult Beverages). I would really like something that is close to wine in sweet/tart balance in intensity, but not alcoholic. Shrubs often come close, though are often made too concentrated. This beverage is the closest I’ve come so far to an enjoyable compound shrub.

Quick Hibiscus and Cranberry Shrub

In a pint glass, combine a quarter cup of chilled, spiced hibiscus syrup* with a quarter cup of chilled, unsweetened cranberry juice and a generous teaspoon of natural cider vinegar (Hey! A fine use for the Cider Vinegar from the Bragg Foods health food cult! Try not to used distilled vinegar, it’s pretty harsh, dude.). Top up with chilled soda water and enjoy this refreshing and bracing beverage. Feel free to add booze, Rum or Tequila are awesome. Also, a fine all hallows eve beverage, as it looks like you are drinking a pint of blood.

image

*Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

3 Pints Water
3 Cup Sugar (Washed Raw Sugar or Demerara preferably)
1 Cup Dried Hibiscus Flowers
2 Cinnamon Sticks
9 Whole Clove
1 teaspoon Whole Coriander
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate

METHOD: (If the Hibiscus Flowers are really dirty, put them in cold water briefly and allow the dirt to settle out. Grab floating hibiscus flowers off of settled dirt.) Bring Water to a Boil with Sugar to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and steep for a few hours or overnight. Strain out solids and filter a second time through coffee filters. Refrigerate in a non-reactive container.

“Hawaiian Punch”

“Could you make me something tall, refreshing and non-boozy?”

“No problem…”

Minutes later, “Ha, I think I have inadvertently discovered the secret formula for ‘Hawaiian Punch’!”

“Hawaiian Punch”

2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Shake and strain over ice cubes in a 14-16 oz glass. Top with chilled soda water.

Keep Sober Cocktail

Keep Sober Cocktail

1/8 Grenadine. (Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/8 Sirop-de-Citron (Sirop-de-Citron, homemade)
3/4 Tonic. (Clayton’s Kola Tonic)

Serve in long glass and fill with siphon soda.

This one isn’t bad either, ending up tasting rather like a Cherry-Coke, though it wouldn’t be awful to include a little citrus.

Another interesting experiment I tried was mixing in Trader Tiki’s Don’s Mix, instead of the Grenadine. You know, you have to support your friends. Anyway, I found that to be a quite interesting variation, a little spice and a little citric tang, gave this a bit more of a tropical theme and made it a pretty decent non-alcoholic cocktail.

Now if I could only convince Blair from Trader Tiki or Jennifer from Small Hand Foods to make a Kola Tonic, so I don’t have to order it from Barbados next time!

I mean, if you have to Keep Sober, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Clayton’s Temperence Cocktail


Clayton’s Temperance Cocktail
1/4 Sirop-de-citron. (Sirop-de-Citron, homemade)
3/4 Kola Tonic. (Clayton’s Kola Tonic)
Shake well and serve in cocktail glass. (Or build in a glass and top with chilled soda water.)

Not that interesting, just kind of tastes like too sweet lemony cola. Some lime juice (and a splash of High West Rendezvous Rye) rendered it somewhat more palatable. Still, the Pussyfoot was definitely the better cocktail.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Clayton’s Pussyfoot Cocktail

Well, the first section after the 700 and some odd “Cocktails” is, drumroll…

Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

Actually, I wish there were some more exciting cocktails here, but most seem to have been cribbed from a “Clayton’s Kola Tonic” brochure.

“Claytons. The drink you have when you’re not having a drink.”

Clayton’s Pussyfoot Cocktail
1/4 Sirop-de-citron. (Sirop-de-Citron, homemade)
1/4 Orange Juice. (Blood Orange Juice)
1/2 Kola Tonic. (Clayton’s Kola Tonic)
Shake well and serve in cocktail glass. (Or build in a short glass and top with chilled soda water.)

These sorts of cocktails, with my really intense and sweet Sirop-de-Citron, I just find to be too concentrated in flavor to be served as “up” cocktails. I much prefer them built with soda water instead, even over ice.

The Clayton’s Pussyfoot is actually darn tasty. I might, or might not, recommend slipping a splash of Rye Whiskey in there, just to juice it up, but certainly, not very much, especially with that name.

Hey, check out the new Schott-Zwiesel glassware. It’s from the Schumann Basic Bar collection. I really like these little glasses. Perfect size for a 19th Century highball or a glass of vermouth while making dinner. They really remind me of some of the vintage highball glassware I’ve seen. Also, they were on sale, so cool!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.