Tuesday, July 5, 2011


There are a lot of drinks in Mexico that I don't really care for. I can pass on the horchata, the atole, and many of the aguas that are available at taco stands and street markets. I have, however, found one I really like, and that's jamaica. I know that when you read that it looks like Jamaica, the country, but I assure you that it's jamaica, better known to Americans has the hibiscus flower. In Spanish, it's pronounced ha-MY-ka. My question up in the air right now is whether the country or the flower was named first, but I still have some research to do in that department.

I enjoy a nice cup of jamaica, but when I buy it here in town it's usually super sweet. Have you heard about Mexican Coke and how it's sweeter than the American version? It's true, and I think it must apply to every other drink here in Mexico as well.

When I was visiting Seattle, I had jamaica at a Mexican restaurant that was just perfect. It was sweet, but I could still taste the tartness of the flower, and I just loved it. At that point I realized I needed to learn how to make my own jamaica.

After some quick advice from a couple of people here at our mission, I set off to accomplish my jamaica-lovin' dreams. And accomplish I did. It was so incredibly easy, and I was so happy to be able to monitor the amount of sugar involved in the process. So here's how to make jamaica.

My dried jamaica flowers were in a plain, unmarked bag, but then again, I live in Mexico. You might be able to find it at a Mexican grocery store where you live, or perhaps in the Mexican food aisle. You can see how much I used, and this eventually made about 3-4 liters of juice.
 Just stick the dried flowers in a 3-quart size pan, filled about a 1/3rd with water.
 Boil for 15 minutes.
 Use a colander to catch the flowers as you collect the concentrate.
I put the water in the containers before the boiling concentrate, so I wouldn't be pouring boiling water into those plastic containers.
I put the juice in the refrigerator, and then added sugar to taste when it was cold.

Uhh... Yum.

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