If you enjoy Earl Grey and hibiscus teas, then try this mash-up of the two. It's simple to make, with stunning results, and can be served chilled as a not-too-sweet and non-alcoholic accompaniment to a meal.
I loved iced Earl Grey, especially when cold-brewed, which gives the tea a pleasantly smooth flavor free of bitterness. The addition of dried hibiscus flowers infuses the tea with fuchsia color and cranberry-like tartness – just how strong depends on how long you let it steep. Hibiscus flowers are used in beverages around the world, and can often be found at Latin American markets, where they are called "flor de Jamaica," as well as health food stores.
I find that the tea and flowers have enough subtle fruity sweetness and prefer to drink this without added sugar, especially when served with a meal. However, if you like, you can stir in a little simple syrup. It's also fun to play with the addition of other fruits, herbs, and spices (see notes at end of recipe).
Hibiscus-Earl Grey Iced Tea
2 quarts water (preferably filtered)
6 Earl Grey tea bags (or 6 teaspoons looseleaf tea in an infuser)
1/2 cup dried hibiscus blossoms
Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar or pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours and overnight. A shorter brewing time yields a lighter drink, while a longer brewing time intensifies the color and flavor.
Strain and chill until ready to serve.
• Add other ingredients during the infusion, such as orange slices, a cinnamon stick, a couple of star anise pods, or a couple of thyme sprigs.
• Sweeten the brewed tea with simple syrup.
• Serve with a slice or twist of lime.
(Images: Emily Ho)