This agua de jamaica drink has a unique and refreshing taste. It’s slightly tart, a bit sweet, and bursting with flavor. The recipe is really simple to make at home and a family favorite!
Agua de jamaica is a Mexican drink made from the petals of the hibiscus flower. It has a beautiful and deep red color and a refreshing taste that goes so well with many foods.
I am sure that when you read the word Jamaica, you immediately think of the country, but in Mexico, we simply refer to the dried flowers of the hibiscus plant.
These little flowers are boiled to release their amazing taste and color, then the strong concentrate is combined with water and sugar to make a delicious iced hibiscus tea!
Along with agua de horchata, jamaica is the flavor of agua fresca everybody loves in Mexico, including me! And that’s why I make it often and has become a staple at my home.
- Jamaica flowers: You can find dried hibiscus flowers at any Mexican grocery store or on Amazon. Since they are also used to make tea, look at specialty herbal and tea shops too.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is what I normally use, but it can be swapped with your preferred sweetener.
- Water: You’ll need about 4-5 cups of water for every cup of jamaica concentrate you use, this will also depend on preferences.
- Ice: For serving your jamaica drink. Or skip it if you prefer the beverage to chill in the fridge.
How to Make Agua de Jamaica
Give a quick rinse to the hibiscus flowers to remove any dust or impurities.
Place them in a medium saucepan and add 4 cups of water. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Turn off the heat and let the concentrate cool down completely.
Strain into a bowl to remove the flowers, pressing down with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Transfer the hibiscus concentrate to a large pitcher and add sugar. Mix for one minute to dissolve the sugar.
Then add the remaining water and mix again. Taste, and adjust sweetness to your taste by adding more sugar.
You can now place the pitcher in your fridge and allow it to chill for 1-2 hours or serve the drink in glasses with ice.
Agua de jamaica pairs well with a variety of foods, especially those with contrasting flavors that complement its tart and slightly sweet profile.
Tips & Recipe Notes
- When purchasing dried hibiscus flowers, make sure to check the quality and freshness of the product. Look for whole, intact flowers with a deep red or purple color, as these are typically the most flavorful.
- Adjust sweet to taste. I like my jamaica drink to be tart and somehow a little bitter, but that might not be your case. Add more sugar if needed, and more water to dilute the concentrate and make it less tarty.
- You can use other sweeteners besides sugar, I love using agave syrup sometimes, it adds a smoky touch. Honey or stevia are also good options.
- Be creative! Try mixing agua de jamaica with sparkling water for a fizzy version, or use it as a base for mocktails and cocktails.
- Don’t throw away the soaked flowers! You can make delicious tacos de jamaica (have you heard about them?).
How to Store
There’s often a pitcher with agua de jamaica in my fridge, especially in summer because it offers a refreshing escape from the heat. Let me tell you my favorite tips for storing it:
Note that you can store your dried hibiscus flowers for a long period. Just place them in a glass jar with a tight lid or a plastic container, and make sure that the container is clean and completely dry before adding the flowers. Store in your pantry or a kitchen cabinet away from direct sunlight.
More Agua Fresca Recipes
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Agua de Jamaica Drink
- 1 large pitcher
- 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers (known as jamaica)
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 cups water (divided)
- Place hibiscus flowers and 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the concentrate cool down completely.
- Strain into a bowl to remove the flowers, pressing down with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
- Transfer the hibiscus concentrate to a large pitcher and add sugar. Mix to dissolve.
- Mix in the remaining water, taste, and adjust the sweetness to your liking.
- Serve over ice or chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Adjust sweet to taste. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter, and more water to dilute the concentrate and make it less tarty.
- For leftovers, transfer to a large jar or a pitcher and store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.