Agua de jamaica owes its deep pink color and tart, perfumy flavor to the flower of a common garden plant: hibiscus. Called jamaica (pronounced ha-MY-kuh) in Spanish, the shrub thrives in subtropical climates. Dried hibiscus flowers are often labeled “flor de jamaica” in Latin American markets and in health food stores. The recipe for this faintly sweet drink, which uses dried hibiscus flowers, comes from the Enríquez family in El Paso. 

Featured in “From Jamaica to Senegal, This Crimson Infusion Reigns Supreme.”

Agua de Jamaica Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water)
Dried hibiscus flowers lend their flavor to this sweet, refreshing drink.
Yield: makes 6 cups
Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes


  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cups dried jamaica (hibiscus) flowers


  1. In a pot, bring the sugar and 6 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the jamaica flowers, remove from the heat, and let steep for at least 5 hours. Strain into a pitcher and serve over ice. (Agua de jamaica will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.)