Jus de Bissap is a beautiful red West African beverage, made from dried Hibiscus Flower petals. It is known as the National Drink of Senegal. Similar beverages are found in Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan.
* 2-3 cups of dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel or roselle)
* 1-2 cups of sugar
* 1 or 2 of the following optional flavorings:
– sprig of mint
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
– 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
– 1/2 cup lemon juice
– 1 cup pineapple juice or orange juice
1. Briefly rinse the dried flowers in cool water.
2. In a saucepan heat two quarts (approximately two litres) of cold water.
3. As soon as the water begins to boil, add the dried hibiscus leaves.
4. Immediately remove from heat and let the flowers steep for ten minutes.
5. Pour the water from the pot into a pitcher using a strainer (lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel if you like) to separate the flowers from the water. (Be sure not to pour any of the flower sediment into the pitcher.)
6. Stir in the sugar.
7. Add any other flavorings (if desired).
8. Add ice and chill.