Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Treat: Hibiscus Margarita

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Try this tasty, refreshing Hibiscus Margarita. You will impress your friends with the presentation and its balanced taste.
Aaron and I went to a tequila-tasting dinner at Salud with our friends last week and we got inspired by Manny Hinojosa, the award-winning mixologist from Cazadores. Last night, we went to a fun Cinco de Mayo party with a margarita contest. Being competitive, we decided to get advice from Manny since he's a master bartender. I didn't get the complete recipe in time so I did a bit of experimentation from looking at other recipes. Our margarita came in 2nd place out of 8 different drinks, including a watermelon margarita lined with crushed watermelon nerds! We were disappointed that we didn't win, but the group that won had an outstanding margarita.

I sent this picture to Manny and he said that I need to add more hibiscus in the water to make the syrup a deep pink-red. My recipe below accounts for that and I doubled the amount for you. Here's how to make it....

  • Hibiscus Syrup: 6 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 4 cups dried hibiscus flowers (found at Latin markets - maybe called Jamaican or at Trader Joe's).
  • Drink Proportions: 4 parts tequila, 1 part Cointreau, 1 1/2 parts hibiscus syrup, 1/2 part fresh lime juice.
  • Glass Rim: 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers - ground in spice mill, then add 1 cup course sea salt (pictured above).
  • Garnishes: 2 sprigs basil chopped, limes sliced (need about 12 for the juice and garnishes), dried hibiscus flower sliced in smaller pieces to fit on the rim of the glass.
Notes: I used less sugar for the simple syrup since the dried hibiscus flowers are sweet. If you don't like salt, you can also use sugar for the rim.

  • Place blossoms in a strainer; rinse under cold water. Combine blossoms, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Strain; discard blossoms. Cover and chill hibiscus mixture.
  • In a spice mill or food processor, grind dried hibiscus blossoms. Mix in coarse sea salt and the bottom of a measuring cup to continue to break apart the hibiscus. Chop basil.
  • Combine hibiscus-syrup mixture, tequila, juice, and Cointreau. Serve over ice. Using a slice of lime, wet the rim of the glass and dip in the hibiscus-salt. Pour margarita and garnish with basil, hibiscus blossom and lime slices.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup margarita, 1/2 blossom, sprinkle of basil, and 1 lime slice)

Leftover rim salt? I think I'll use this as an accent for cooked fish or green salads. If you make this, send me a picture!

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