Juneteenth

This Canned Find Makes the Best 2-Ingredient Summer Cocktail

published Jun 17, 2024
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Pouring Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer into a collins glass with gin and ice with another drink in the background.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik; Styling: Tom Hoerup

If you want to see me light up with a special brand of joy that only food can create, offer me a drink with ginger and hibiscus (known as sorrel by the Caribbean community, which my Guyanese mom would always make for holidays and special occasions). The flavor of the tart and sweet hibiscus and the heat of the ginger, when combined, is like magic — and one I will never, ever grow weary of! 

If I find a hibiscus ginger drink, I’ve just got to try it. So you can just imagine how totally thrilled I was to discover a new-to-me beverage on the block (or in this case, shelves), Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer, at my local Target. With the Juneteenth holiday quickly approaching, I grabbed this red drink to enjoy as part of my celebration and well into the summer season. 

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik; Styling: Tom Hoerup

But First, Why I Always Put Out Red Food and Drinks to Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth (observed on June 19 and also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day) became an official holiday in 2021, and commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. An amalgamation of June and nineteenth, historically it is the day in 1865 when enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas, were proclaimed to be free — two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The celebration of freedom that originated in Galveston spread to other states throughout the country and continues among family and friends today. 

As with many celebrations, food and traditions are two major aspects of the holiday. One such tradition is serving red food and drinks in honor of the enslaved people whose lives were lost during slavery. Some choose to incorporate red soda or juice in their Juneteenth celebration to symbolize the lost lives of enslaved Africans. Hibiscus has been part of the Juneteenth celebration since the day it was conceived. However, I love being able to enjoy a drink that not only has hibiscus, which honors the ancestors and represents both resilience and sacrifice, but ginger as well, a plant abundantly grown in parts of Africa, like Nigeria.

Credit: Samantha Hunter

What’s So Great About Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer?

Ginger is Nigerian slang for motivation, and ginjan (or ginger juice) is a popular West African beverage made with ginger that was historically used by Africans to treat illnesses and ailments. While some classify ginger as an herb and others as a spice, I love how alive it makes me feel. It’s part of my culture (my Guyanese mom and Bajan dad both enjoy hibiscus and ginger beer) and the combination of spicy, fiery ginger with the sweet-and-sour flavor of hibiscus is one that I delight in every time that I have it. 

Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer reminds me of my family, my ancestors, and my heritage, as well as the history of Africans in America and the sacrifices that were made in the past for African Americans to be free and thrive today. Besides its red coloring, I love that this drink has just enough bubbles to create the celebratory vibe that the day calls for. 

The canned cocktail-friendly drink is sweet, but not too sweet for me once I pour it over ice. The cardamom, coriander, and chili pepper extract balance out the flavor of the drink, creating the perfect sip. You can smell the spiced scents, which work to add a dynamic olfactory element to the drinking experience. In essence, it smells just as good as it tastes!

Credit: Samantha Hunter

What’s the Best Way to Serve Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer?

I am presently living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, home of the original Black Wall Street and where Juneteenth is celebrated with an annual multiday festival. It’s quite warm here already, although the summer hasn’t officially started, so naturally, my favorite way to drink this beverage is chilled, with lots of ice! 

For me, the spicy-sweet flavor is so spot-on, I don’t feel that it needs much else to make it better. Depending on what I have on hand, I may add a sprig of mint and/or a squeeze of lemon or lime to cut the sweetness and make this red drink even more refreshing. 

Credit: Samantha Hunter

The Q Mixers Hibiscus Mixers Ginger Beer packaging also recommends this drink be served with your favorite vodka. To have this drink my way — especially for Juneteenth and in honor of my African ancestry and the celebration of freedom — I combine the hibiscus ginger beer with Bayab African Grown Small Batch Gin, a Pan-African gin made with botanicals sourced from Ghana to Zambia. The fruity components of this gin (Baobab fruit, pineapple, lemon, orange peel), along with the warming spices (cardamom, cinnamon) blend harmoniously with the hibiscus and ginger.  

If you choose to do a libation ceremony (the pouring out of some of your drink onto the ground in honor of the ancestors), make sure that you stock up on a case or two of Q Mixers. A couple of cans may just not be enough to satisfy once the sipping starts. Happy Juneteenth!

Buy: Q Mixers Hibiscus Ginger Beer, $4.49 for 4 cans (7.5-ounce) at Target

How are you celebrating Juneteenth this year? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

This is part of Family Legends, celebrating Juneteenth favorites that are sure to leave a lasting impression.