Hibiscus pairings
September 21, 2017 5:24 AM   Subscribe

I have a copy of the flavor Bible and lo and behold there's no column for hibiscus!

I have been making hibiscus ice cream, but I would like to know what other things pair well with hibiscus.

Ideas:rosewater, lavender.

Any other suggestions?
posted by tedious to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Coconut!
posted by prewar lemonade at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I used to live near a coffeeshop where I would frequently get iced hibiscus tea with a brie, green apple, and ham sandwich. They were divine together; sweet but not too sweet, bitter but not too bitter.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:27 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also lemon, blueberry and honey.
posted by prewar lemonade at 5:27 AM on September 21, 2017

Best answer: Based on my experiences with agua de jamaica:
Orange, apple, cinnamon, mint, or (my favorite) tamarind. You can use orange, cinnamon, and tamarind all together. If you look up other jamaica recipes, it may give you other flavor pairings.
posted by alligatorpear at 5:38 AM on September 21, 2017

Best answer: Hibiscus tea infused with cinnamon and chili works pretty well. Because the ingredients don't get bitter with long soaking you can leave them in the fridge for a day or so and the cinnamon gets sweeter the longer it sits in the tea (assuming you use a stick)

Googling found a recipe for a hibiscus drink with ginger which sounds nice.

More suggestions for using hibiscus, including a marinade for lamb.

I'd also just experiment with this. I'd use lemon and lime to brainstorm - I think hibiscus would work well as a substitute for both in many contexts. I have a bag in my kitchen, come to think of it.
posted by bunderful at 5:39 AM on September 21, 2017

Probably not an ideal ice cream flavor, but a bar near me does a delicious drink with hibiscus water, chipotle-infused tequila, sugar and lime.
posted by sepviva at 5:39 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ginger and mint both work great with hibiscus. If you can get enough of its flavor in there, it can be great with dark chocolate (full disclosure, the only way I've personally gotten that balance is by making hibiscus wine). It's nice with most berries and stone fruits, too.
posted by solotoro at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2017

My favorite (now discontinued, sadly) infused bottled water was Hint's honeydew hibiscus.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:50 AM on September 21, 2017

Try pink peppercorn.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:04 AM on September 21, 2017

Best answer: Ginger. ALL THE GINGER. In summer I make a cold-brewed tea with hibiscus and dried ginger root by the gallon, and I recently adapted that same pairing into a refreshingly spiced blonde ale. It is my single favorite flavor pairing.

You might also look to the many variations of the Nigerian hibiscus tea called "zobo". Most have ginger, some have other spicy-sweet aromatics like cloves and cinnamon, and they typically contain some amount of tropical fruit (usually pineapple, but citrus of various sorts is also pretty common).
posted by jackbishop at 6:06 AM on September 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Does your book have a column for rhubarb? They share the distinct tartness of oxalic acid.
posted by STFUDonnie at 6:10 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

hibiscus + pistachio = yum
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:13 AM on September 21, 2017

Sparkling wine. And if you drop a whole hibiscus flower in, it's pretty too.
posted by lollusc at 6:13 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My jamaica recipe includes hibiscus, dried orange rind (or fresh orange zest if I'm feeling fancy), cinnamon stick, mint, and one chili pepper.

Are you familiar with butterfly pea flowers? They have an intense blue color that can change to purple or pink depending on the acidity they're exposed to. I don't know what the flavor pairing with hibiscus would be like, but the color pairing -- deep indigo butterfly pea flower + deep pink hibiscus -- would be AMAZING.
posted by ourobouros at 6:28 AM on September 21, 2017

Hibiscus limeade is really tasty. There might be a sorbet situation you could investigate.
posted by phunniemee at 7:04 AM on September 21, 2017

Best answer: Walnuts go great with cranberries and rhubarb, whose flavor hibiscus reminds me of, so I bet they'll go great with hibiscus too. Bring out the sort of astringent flavor in both, which could play really interestingly against the smooth richness of dairy. And it'll be a pleasant-surprise kind of pairing, because normally hibiscus is served as a drink and there's no easy way to mix walnuts in with that.

Anyway, now I'm fantasizing about hibiscus ice cream with walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Maybe add cherries too for a classic-hot-fudge-sundae-with-a-twist flavor pun thing?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:13 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

honestly anything that goes with cranberry will go well with hibiscus. All the the things they put in those fruity teas, too. Most fruits (not just citrus -- berries too, and stone fruit); and many warm spices -- cinnamon, ginger.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:57 AM on September 21, 2017

Best answer: Fennel seed, if balanced right, could be nice and go savory or sweet depending on application.

I once had a very pretty little cake made with hibiscus, almond, and lemon zest. Hibiscus is very assertive, so when experimenting you will need to either match it with something that can hold its own or something that is subtle but lingering or has an element the hibiscus is lacking, like texture.
posted by Mizu at 8:25 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I brewed a saison with hibiscus that turned out really nice. Mildly sour-funky but not nearly as much as a true sour beer. And plus: weird pink beer.
posted by dr. boludo at 10:20 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Winn Dixie sells a diet pomegranate-hibiscus soda.
posted by brujita at 10:51 AM on September 21, 2017

Agua de jamaica + lemonade = Armando Palmero, the best drink ever!
posted by karbonokapi at 4:01 PM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hibiscus tea, iced or hot, is great with a slice of lime squeezed in; the lime also looks really pretty floating in the scarlet tea.

Also agreeing with cinnamon, ginger, and orange.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:43 PM on September 24, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks all for all the sugestions~
posted by tedious at 9:01 PM on October 3, 2017

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