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Strawberry Hibiscus Cooler

Serves 6 (makes 4 1/2 cups)

Total Time
40 mins

With or without the vodka, this sweet-tart drink deserves a spot at brunch.

su-Strawberry Hibiscus Cooler Image

Photo: Iain Bagwell

 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers*
 2/3 cup sugar, divided
 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
 2 cups halved strawberries plus a few quartered or halved berries
 1/4 cup lemon juice
 9 ounces citron vodka or regular vodka (optional)
  Sparkling water
  Small mint sprigs or leaves
Step 1

Combine hibiscus, 1/3 cup sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let infusion sit, covered, 20 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a blender, purée halved berries with remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 2 cups cold water. Strain into a metal bowl and stir in lemon juice. Set in a bowl of ice and water until cold.

Step 3

Strain hibiscus infusion into another metal bowl and set in a bowl of ice and water until cold. (Discard soaked hibiscus, or see "Hibiscus flowers," below.) Combine hibiscus infusion and berry purée in a pitcher.

Step 4

Fill glasses with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. vodka to each if you like, followed by about 3/4 cup berry cooler. Stir in a splash of sparkling water. Top with quartered berries and mint.

Step 5

Hibiscus flowers: Try leftover hibiscus flowers as a snack with a glass of mescal, as they do in Mexico. Pat the drained, soaked hibiscus very dry. Deep-fry in vegetable oil, a big spoonful at a time, until dark purple but not black (30 to 45 seconds at 375°); drain and sprinkle with salt.

Step 6

*Find dried hibiscus, called jamaica in Spanish, at well-stocked grocery stores with Latino foods, at Latino markets, and at

Step 7

Make ahead: Through step 3, chilled, up to 1 week; stir before using.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 106Calories from Fat 1.3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.2g1%

Saturated Fat 0.0g0%
Cholesterol 0.0mg0%
Sodium 0.9mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 27g9%

Dietary Fiber 1.2g5%
Protein 0.4g1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.