August 24, 2013

Recipe 28: Jamaica Sunrise

So some caveats on this recipe before I begin:

This has nothing to do with the island of Jamaica, sorry.
This is not to be confused with the Jamaican Sunrise cocktail, sorry.
It's a soda, so it's not necessarily for breakfast, sorry.

If you've ever frequented a tacqueria, particularly a mom-and-pop type, you've likely been greeted by a deep red agua fresca that's labeled with the word "Jamaica".  I'm not sure of the origins, but I know it's tasty.  It's fruity; bearing a slight resemblance to tamarind with a subtle, ever-present floral note.  However, it's made from the bright red hibiscus flower.  Yeah, you know, the stereotypical tropical flower that adorns everything from tahitian dancers to board shorts.

While a straight up Jamaica recipe is a great candidate for carbonation on its own, I wanted to add a little something extra.  I don't know how I settled on adding orange, but doesn't that sound like the perfect breakfast drink?  A nice glass of orange juice with some deep red hibiscus tea added for color cheery floral notes.  And so came "Jamaica" from the mexican name for the hibiscus tea and "Sunrise" from the fact that orange juice is just inexplicably tied to breakfast.

1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups sugar
zest and juice from 1 orange
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 tbsp lemon juice.
carbonated water to top up to 1 gallon.

Steep the flowers, ginger, and orange zest in about 1 cup of near boiling water, remove from heat and allow to steep for about 30 min.
Strain to remove all the particulates.
Add the sugar and bring to a boil to dissolve completely.
Add the juices and simmer for an additional five minutes.
Allow the syrup to cool and then add to carbonated water by the glass or into bottles.

August 7, 2013

Syrup Review: Orange Crush Water Enhancer

From the makers of Otter Pops, among other things, comes Orange Crush water enhancer.  I first saw this displayed by the manufacturer at a trade show back in November.  I've often thought of trying MiO and some of the other water enhancers with carbonated water, but this one is just begging for the chance.

So while I work on recipes that will some day make it to these pages and while R.E.M. bounces around my head, I decided to pick one of these up.

I really like this stuff because it mixes so easily.  There's no actual sugar to thicken it up, so you just squirt some into the bottom of the glass, fill with carbonated water, and drink.  You don't have to struggle to get it to mix like you might with a thick syrup.  The flavor is good, and the (artificial) color is vibrant.  The sucralose and ace k taste like expected, so if you don't like artificial sweeteners, then this is not for you.  If you want a diy Diet Crush, then this is right up your alley.

Grape is also available, and it seems like the company displayed strawberry at the show as well, though I haven't seen it on shelves.

One downside (other than artificial sweetness) is that the instructions are a bit ambiguous.  It's 1 squirt for an 8oz serving and 2 squirts for 16oz bottle.  It shoots out in a thin stream, and I'm not sure how big of a squeeze is a single serving.

The economics of it is only a bit better than buying your Crush as is.  One $3 bottle makes 24 8oz servings.  That comes to about a gallon and a half or three 2-liter bottles.

So... all in all, it's not too bad, but I don't know if it's a must have.
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