Hibiscus Cocktails

hibiscusflashSpring is the perfect time for floral cocktails! Aside from adding a gorgeous fuchsia color to cocktails, hibiscus gives a floral, sweet and tart flavor. Also, hibiscus makes me think of Hawaii—always a good thing. You can use hibiscus tea, flowers soaked in rose syrup, dried flowers … there are many ways to incorporate hibiscus. You can often find it in Latin foods shops under the name jamaica.

Hibiscus Paloma ~ Add a floral touch to the classic grapefruit and tequila cocktail using the syrup from a jar of hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus Rum Cooler ~ This pitcher cocktail combines hibiscus tea and fresh lemon juice for a tropical (and boozed up) take an Arnold Palmer.

Hibiscus Flash ~ Funky rhum agricole, which is like rum only made with cane sugar instead of molasses, is a good match for the floral sweetness of hibiscus syrup in this drink.

Especiado ~ Dried hibiscus flower and spices mixed with tequila or mezcal make for a deeply flavored punch.

Hibiscus Honey Mint Julep ~ Put a little magic in your julep by adding honey syrup and dried hibiscus flowers.

Mai Tai Styles: Hawaii vs. California (with orgeat recipe)

The Mercury News compares the Hawaiian and Californian versions of the Mai Tai … and comes to the conclusion they’re both delicious. I agree. The article includes the orgeat recipe from the DIY Cocktails book. Making your own orgeat (almond syrup) is easy, and it tastes great in coffee and other drinks, too.

Here’s my Mai Tai recipe. As a California native, I guess it’s no surprise it’s California-style. (Although I’ve had my share of Mai Tais at the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki … and those are amazing.)

Tiki and Tropical Drinks

Painkiller from Chow

I’ll soon be heading to Oahu to sip umbrella drinks by the beach. But no matter where you are, your cocktail shaker can transport you to a tropical place. Tiki drinks aren’t just for summer! Just make sure you’re all stocked up on rum. Here are some fun ones to try:

Banana Daiquiri ~ This is very simple for a tropical drink—even though blending is involved, it’s only a few common ingredients. And the result is refreshing and surprisingly delicious.

Mr. Bali Hai ~ A little bit of coffee flavor perks up this tiki cocktail. You wouldn’t think coffee and pineapple would go so well together. But they most definitely do!

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club ~ This is a fun take on the Daiquiri, with Cointreau and Falernum. You can easily make your own falernum, if you don’t already have some.

Planter’s Punch ~ No two recipes for this tiki classic are the same. This recipe has a little bit of sweetness without the avalanche of fruit flavors that can be overwhelming in some versions.

Painkiller ~ Creamy coconut with rum and orange … now that’s what you sip in paradise! Transform your living room into a tropical getaway with this tiki treat.