Strawberries provide natural sweetness in this low-sugar drink.
“As strawberries get juicier and deepen in color over the course of the season, so will this drink,” says Denver-based recipe developer Julia Heffelfinger. “I use a touch of honey to balance the tart hibiscus flavor, but if you have great berries you won’t need it.”
- 6 hibiscus tea bags
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon light honey or agave (optional)
- 3 large basil sprigs, plus more for garnish
- Plain seltzer
- 1 lemon wheel
In a medium saucepan, combine the hibiscus tea bags, strawberries, honey, three basil sprigs, and two cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately-high heat and cook, uncovered and pressing on the strawberries with the back of a spoon, until the strawberries break down and the liquid has reduced slightly, about ten minutes.
Let mixture cool slightly, then discard the hibiscus tea bags and basil. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve set over a one-quart jar, pressing on the solids. Once liquid has been strained, discard the solids and refrigerate until chilled. Reserve two ounces for the cocktail and store the remainder in the fridge for additional drinks.
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add two ounces of the strawberry-hibiscus syrup and fill to the top with seltzer. Garnish with a sprig of basil and a lemon wheel.