Hibiscus-Ginger Cocktail Syrup

Editor’s Note: The only reason this recipe is found in the “Survive It” category is because the author attempted to light herself on fire, Michael Jackson style, in the process of making it. Management does not recommend leaning over a simmering pot of ANYTHING sitting on a gas stove if (A) you have long hair (B) it’s not in a ponytail and (C) you are not a cast member of Jackass I, Jackass 2, or Jackass 3D.

Like Lavender, hibiscus (also known as flor de Jamaica) is yet another wonderful flower with fabulous culinary properties. If you’ve ever had a cup of herbal tea, you’ve undoubtedly tasted hibiscus without realizing it. Hibiscus is the ingredient in herbal teas that give them a red tint and a tangy flavor. Both the smell and taste of hibiscus is remarkably similar to that of rose hips.

Hibiscus is well-known for its healing properties, especially related to kidney issues, and is a common culinary ingredient in Mexico, India and several Caribbean countries. Recently, The Chef made an amazing hibiscus-cured salmon gravlax that was simply put – to die for. Hopefully, we will be able to coax the recipe out of him at some point in the near future.

Unlike rose petals or lavender buds, dried hibiscus flowers can be a bit tricky to locate at the local grocer or health food store. With a little time and ingenuity, you should be able to find an online resource. It’s well worth the special order, as this particular cocktail syrup is both versatile and delicious.

Not only can simple syrups be used with a generous amount of club soda for homemade Italian sodas, they can also be combined with cream for Amalfis (French sodas), used as dessert toppings, and blended into clever cocktails. And flavored simple syrups are one of the easiest things to whip up in the kitchen.


One important thing to remember when using flowers for culinary purposes; be sure to purchase or grow culinary grade flowers. Simply trotting off to your local greenhouse or home center and buying a pot of hibiscus will result in some nasty tasting and not-so-good-for-you results, as non-culinary grade flowers are most often treated with pesticides and growth chemicals.


Flavor Pairings

Hibiscus works will with the following ingredients when making cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages:

  • Mint
  • Rose Water
  • Raspberry
  • Cherry
  • Lemon or Lime
  • Ancho Chili
  • Apple
  • Honey


Print Recipe
Hibiscus Ginger Simple Syrup
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
  1. Combine water and sugar in a pot and heat slowly over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add ginger & hibiscus.
  3. Reduce heat to a low simmer and steep buds for 30 minutes.
  4. After steeping flowers & ginger, remove from heat.
  5. Pour contents through a fine mesh sieve and into a large mason jar.
  6. Let syrup cool until you can handle the jar without melting the flesh off your hands (or if you're impatient like me, wrap a thick kitchen cloth around the jar).
  7. Line sieve with a coffee filter, place sieve over second jar, and filter syrup.
  8. The coffee filter removes fine particulate matter and will result in a clear and debris-free syrup.
Recipe Notes

Hibiscus is a vibrant flower that results in a rich, deep cherry-colored syrup, so no supplemental food coloring is required.

By Restaurant Widow

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