agua de jamaica

/AH-gwah de hah-MAH-ee-kah/

"Water of Jamaica." A deep red, unfermented drink made from red flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is found in markets in large glass containers alongside other colourful "agua." This is one of the most popular. It is a sour but refreshing drink which keeps for weeks in the fridge. Iliana de la Vega of lovely Restaurante El Naranjo in Oaxaca, since tragically closed because of the dreadful events in that poor city, used her homemade agua de jamaica as a replacement for vinegar in dressings, and may flavour it with cinnamon, star anise, ginger or orange peel. She also uses it in sangria. It is high in Vitamin C and looks like Ribena.