Want to know why my fridge is always stocked with seasonal syrups? It’s because this beauty, a seasonal twist on the classic Blinker cocktail recipe, took me about 20 seconds total to mix.
If you tried the Garden Party cocktail I posted last week (and you most definitely should if you haven’t yet, it’s as pretty as it is delicious) you already have some hibiscus syrup ready to go. Unless, of course, you made so many Garden Parties you’re already out of syrup, to which I say, “Brava!”
Back when I first started mixing my own cocktail recipes, seasonal syrups were a huge revelation for me. They’re typically shockingly easy to make (as in 10 minutes or less), and can be used to update a whole slew of classic cocktail recipes for the season. A gin fizz may sound great for the spring, but a Rhubarb Gin Fizz sounds much better, right? And once you’ve made your rhubarb syrup for that fizz, you can use it again and again for rhubarb swizzles, crushes, flips, sodas, Old Fashioneds… the list goes on and on. One batch of seasonal syrup can easily be the basis for 10 seasonal cocktails. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck.
Whenever I introduce a new syrup recipe, I try to share at least a couple of cocktail recipes you can make with it. I love the way different spirits show off different layers of flavor, and there are a couple of practical perks I’m sure you’ll appreciate as well. (1) It’s way easier to try a new recipe without making a new syrup, and (2) it’s a darn shame for any of your syrup to go to waste. The flavors are always best in the first couple of weeks, though I’ve been known to use month old syrups in a pinch (I REALLY hate throwing stuff away). Mix with them early and often, and you won’t have to experience that sad moment of dumping your special ingredient down the drain.
Inventive, practical, and most importantly delicious. That’s why I’m obsessed with making and reusing seasonal syrups. The hibiscus syrup used here is one of my easiest. It’s adapted from Natalie Jacob’s recipe, which can be found on her Arsenic Lace blog, and is as simple as adding sugar to tea (though significantly more than you’d put in your usual cup!). It originally appeared in her Pretty in Pink cocktail which is a must-try if you like scotch.
I love the way hibiscus instantly brightens any cocktail. The classic Blinker — just rye, grapefruit, and a little raspberry syrup — is very spirit forward. My Hibiscus Blinker, while definitely a boozy little sipper, has tart floral notes that let the whiskey really sing. If you like to taste your rye, not cover it up, I think you’re gonna love this one.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- .75 oz fresh squeezed/strained grapefruit juice
- 2 tsp hibiscus syrup
- For the hibiscus syrup, add 1 tbsp hibiscus tea (dried hibiscus leaves) to 1 cup of very hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup sugar and stir until combined. Let cool and store in the fridge.
- For the cocktail, combine all in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard for 12 seconds, then pour into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass (pictured). Garnish with a spring flower (I used lavender).
You can also add your hibiscus syrup to some bourbon for the laziest ever Hibiscus Old Fashioned. No shaking, no squeezing. Just stir it right in the glass — perfect for a weeknight.
If you try this Hibiscus Blinker recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #gooddrink @colljeffers on Instagram. I love seeing your creations. Cheers, friends!