Agua de Jamaica Isn't Just for Washing Down Burritos

May 21 2009, 10:47 AM
Last summer, local tequila distributor Carlos Gonzalez developed a refreshing antidote to Denver's blisteringly hot days: agua de jamaica (or hibiscus iced tea) and tequila. Blending the tangy magenta beverage (common in Mexico as well as Denver's authentic taquerias) with his own Tequila Proximus (a boutique label he developed with Table 6 owner Aaron Forman), Gonzalez lightened the bite of tequila and shrouded it in floral flavors. The drink can easily be mixed at home. Gonzalez recommends buying plain hibiscus flowers from Aurora's Rancho Liborio supermarket and boiling a quarter of a pound of tea in one gallon of water, straining it, and then chilling it. I've also found that Nile Valley's hibiscus-mint tea (available at Whole Foods) does the trick. Either way, once you've brewed up a batch of agua de jamaica and sweetened it with sugar, fill a short glass with ice and a shot of tequila. Then top off it with the colorful tea. (Note: If your agua de jamaica is exceptionally acidic, consider watering it down before adding to the tequila.) Bonus: To try Gonzalez's adaptation of this drink, head to the Museo de las Americas' next Spanish happy hour (June 19), where he'll be pouring the cocktail made with his own tequila.