Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jamaica Tea

It's not Rastaman tea so you need not play any Bob Marley tunes in your head unless of course you want to. "Jamaica" pronounced ha-ma-ee-ca refers to a refreshing iced beverage made from the hibiscus flower and you can find it in most Mexican cantinas. I also drank gallons of it in Egypt and Jordan where they call it karkadé and often offer it as a welcoming beverage at hotels while you wait to be checked in. The best versions were whirred in a blender and had an impressive foam head.

You can cold brew the flower sepals overnight for a fruitier taste or brew it hot which brings out the cinnamon notes. It's my bedtime tea tonight along with a dollop of acacia honey. A beloved friend brought me this Hugarian honey from his travels and I can totally see him being taken away by the aesthetics of this jar - the honey is ever so light and demure.

I get the entire dried flower in the bulk bins at the grocery store.  They endearingly look like little flames.  And from time to time I like to drink karkadé when contemplating David Robert lithographs of Petra and Thebes recollecting my dusty adventures in the baksheesh belt.  Due to the natural antiseptic properties of hibiscus, one never had to worry about drinking karkadé even in the most suspicious conditions.

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