I am really excited that summer is almost over. There is almost nothing that happens during summer months that I can get excited about, except maybe fresh garden tomatoes. There’s no football, no hockey, and no relief from unrelenting and saturating Midwest humidity. I almost need a shower just thinking about it. Each year, I welcome fall with an enthusiasm that is difficult to match. Back to reality, though, and summer is still here. This means I am suffering from a bad combination of restlessness and being unmotivated to do anything. I moved my stationary bike in front of the T.V. like a true American so that I can make reruns of Sanford & Son a little more exciting. Overcome yesterday with the overwhelming desire to do nothing, I infused some vodka with hibiscus to try to inspire myself. It kind of worked.
Cruising around the Interwebs, I learned that Absolut has a hibiscus flavored vodka. I have long been a fan of Absolut limited edition flavors (e.g. the mango and black pepper goodness that was Absolut New Orleans) and I truly love hibiscus. But, in the spirit of being unmotivated, I was not about to drive the 8 minutes to Kroger to get some, even though I looked it up on the Liquor Control website to confirm it was in stock. Fortunately, I keep dried hibiscus flowers on hand for a variety of culinary projects. They are very inexpensive and are sold in bulk at Mexican grocery stores, with a large bag often running under $5.00. Often used to make Jamaica, which in addition to being the namesake of a lovely place to Honeymoon, is also the name of a traditionally-Mexican sweetened hibiscus iced tea which can be combined with rum (or not). If I had ever had to give up alcohol, I think I could survive solely on hibiscus tea. It’s that refreshing. In the process of making this tea, dried hibiscus flowers are placed into hot water to steep for a short amount of time before the mixture is combined with other ingredients. Is there any reason this would not also work with spirits? I decided to experiment by placing a handful of flowers into a Ball jar with potato vodka (by FAR the best value and non-wheat sourced vodka out there – Luksusowa – if you know me, you know this is the only brand I buy). After about twenty minutes, the vodka was a beautiful magenta color and ready to be mixed. Inspired by the recipe for the Kingston Buck, I mixed it with ginger beer and lime. The mixture of the tart hibiscus with the spicy ginger beer and refreshing lime juice is a wonderful way to bid adieu to summer.
What else would you mix with hibiscus vodka?