When I was a kid, one of my favorite summer drinks was an ice-cold glass of Kool-Aid. I’m embarrassed to admit that on more than one occasion, I drank so much Kool-Aid that it made me sick. Thankfully, my palate became more sophisticated by my early twenties, and I moved on from Kool-Aid to sangria. If you're unfamiliar with sangria, it's a concoction of red wine infused with fruits, often with added sugar. Sadly, I apparently hadn't learned my lesson from over-doing it with the Kool-Aid, as there were a few occasions that I imbibed in a little too much sangria, and once again, made myself sick.
Since the weather here in Phoenix has been heating up, I’ve found myself craving sangria. Don't worry, I learned my lesson (finally) and came up with a deliciously healthy alternative that is both kid and adult friendly.
Instead of red wine, we're going to use hibiscus tea, which is tasty, loaded with antioxidants, and is very refreshing on a hot day. To learn more about the health benefits of hibiscus, check out this article.
Plan ahead, because you will have to make this recipe a day in advance, to give all of the flavors time to fully release and come together.
You will need:
6 cups of water
6 tablespoons of hibiscus
1 organic orange, sliced thin
1 pear, cored and sliced thin
1 peach, sliced thin
1 cup of dark cherries, either fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons of honey or other sweetener (optional)
Other fruits, such as pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries can also be used. Basically, the more, the merrier.
Bring the six cups of water to a boil; remove from the heat, and add six tablespoons of hibiscus.
Let it steep approximately 4 - 5 minutes, then strain out the hibiscus. If you let it steep longer than 5 minutes, the tea will become too sour, so set a timer for best results.
If you're using a sweetener like honey or agave, add it while the tea is hot.
Let the tea cool for one hour or more, and transfer it to a large glass mason jar. Add in the chopped fruits, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The hibiscus sangria can be served as it is, but you can also add a splash of sparkling water in the glass for a little extra sparkle. The tea-infused fruits can be placed in the glasses as a tasty garnish.