Some days, no ordinary pink lemonade will do. On special occasions, only the most vibrant fuchsia fits the bill. Granted, at Freckle & Fair, that's most days — we're always looking for excuses to spread electric pink food joy out into the world. But my sister-in-law's bridal shower seemed like a particularly perfect occasion.
Like the good champagne lovers we are, my aunt and mom and I put together a mimosa bar with a trio of juices and fruits, accompanied by beautifully sparkly blush champagne cupcakes. We had chocolate buttercream cookies topped with edible gold glitter, tiny sandwiches, and of course, a beautiful cheese board put together by a family friend who smokes cheese (can you even?!) We also served our super pink roasted garlic and beet hummus.
But would a bridal shower be complete with just one over-the-top pink concoction? Not in my world. Enter hibiscus tea. Like beets, the tea provides a naturally gorgeous color — it's hard to believe this isn't food dye. On top of that, the tea claims a host of health benefits. To me, it has a subtle berry flavor that enhances, rather than overpowers, the lemonade. I'm planning to keep this in my refrigerator all summer long. It's a super pretty thirst-quencher that also makes a lovely summer shandy (as if you needed more reasons to make this!)
- 1 cup of lemon juice (I used a combination of fresh-squeezed and bottled — the citrus selection in my neighborhood is rather limited)
- 16 ounces seltzer water
- 2-4 bags of hibiscus tea (I recommend using a pure hibiscus tea rather than a blend. This can be tough to find — even the tea at Whole Foods has other ingredients. I bought mine off Amazon).
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Pour 8 cups of boiling water over 2-4 hibiscus tea bags and allow to steep according to tea package directions. The flavor isn't extremely strong against the lemonade flavor, so if you want more of that flavor come through (or if you want a brighter pink!), opt for more tea bags.
- Make a simple syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. You can do this on the stove, but when my apartment is warm I prefer to simply make a no-cook version to avoid adding heat to an already warm room. To do this, simply let the sugar and water dissolve for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and hibiscus tea, and stir. If you're serving immediately, add 16 ounces of club soda. If you're planning to serve this later, I recommend topping each glass with a hearty splash of club soda before drinking so that it stays fizzy.
- Ya'll know we can't resist spiking our drinks. For a berry-hued summer shandy, mix equal parts lemonade and beer (you can skip the club soda in this version). I recommend using an IPA or another beer with a stronger flavor so that it holds up against the lemonade.
Photos and text by © Theresa Berens, 2016. All rights reserved.