It’s too hot to eat.
All I want is to drink and slake my thirst away. So, I started thinking about my favorite thirst-slaking liquids. Do you know the ones I mean?
Not Coke, which tricks you while still icy cold in your throat making you believe it’s got what it takes, but then leaves you even more parched than before.
Not fruit juice, either on its own or in a cocktail, which leaves a sticky film on your palate.
Not even water, which is earnest and pure, but doesn’t quite slake a serious middle-of-the-desert need.
Here’s my list of top 10 best thirst-quenching libations (in no particular order, because it’s a mood thing):
- aqua de jamaica (a to-die-for Mexican hibiscus tea cooler and the recipe is below)
- Arnold Palmer (50/50 blend of iced tea & lemonade; is it called this everywhere? why?)
- well-chilled rosé wine (why do the French know everything?)
- ginger ale (it’s the one thing I look forward to on airplanes)
- iced coffee (proof that flavors fade when cold)
- ice cold cheap lager (ditto)
- room temperature sparkling water with a lime twist (handy when you don’t have access to ice or reliable drinking water)
- kir (or kir royale, if you insist)
- Bloody Mary (surprising but true)
- gin & tonic (good gin only, if you please)
So, what do you drink when it’s too hot to even think about eating?
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Cooler)
Sold all over Mexico or available at authentic Mexican restaurants, this beverage is the best (even better than beer) for satisfying your thirst. I brought back bags of the flower petals, but you can now find them here, too. This sweet drink is also great with food.
- 1/2 cup hibiscus flowers (3/4 ounce) or 6 bags hibiscus tea
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup sugar , or to taste
- ice and cold water as needed
Place the hibiscus flowers or tea bags into a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over and set aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the crimson-colored teas into a 2-quart pitcher, discarding the spent flowers or tea bags.
Add the sugar; stir until dissolved. Fill the pitcher two-thirds full with ice and top it off with cold water. Taste and, if desired, add more sugar. Refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours.