Hibiscus is an edible flower that has long been used to flavor foods with a complex, floral essence. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, which lower blood pressure, combat cholesterol and strengthen the heart. In addition to its valuable health benefits, hibiscus is celebrated for its cooling effects. Dried hibiscus petals are commonly used as a food garnish, but they are ideal for brewing tea. Hibiscus tea is so refreshing that North Africans drink it to cool off when the weather is hot (see Reference 1).
Tea wine that’s brewed from hibiscus is another drink that harnesses the nutritional advantages of the flower. While all alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation, a serving of hibiscus tea wine has wholesome properties that support overall wellness.
Place the dried hibiscus flower petals (or whole blossoms) in the bucket. Pour the boiling water over the petals and allow the mixture to steep for at least seven minutes. If you prefer a stronger tea, allow the tea to steep longer. When the preferred strength has been reached, remove the spent petals from the tea and discard.
Add the sugar and lemon juice to the hibiscus tea and mix well. Stir in the chopped raisins, wine yeast and nutrient.
Cover the bucket with a lid and store in a dry, warm place for five days.
Strain the mixture into a primary carboy, discard the spent chopped raisins. Fit the airlock and ferment to dryness. The wine will ferment to dryness when it appears clear and sediment has gathered at the bottom.
Rack (siphon) the clear wine into a secondary carboy and fit the airlock. Leave alone for 45 days.
Strain and rack the wine back into the primary carboy and fit the airlock. Set aside for 3-4 weeks.
Bottle the hibiscus tea wine and serve.
Hibiscus combines well with mint, so consider adding a few leaves of the herb to the tea wine brew. In addition to complementing the flavor of hibiscus, the mint will amplify the cooling effects of the drink.
As with all alcoholic beverages, consume hibiscus tea wine responsibly and in moderation.