Jamaica Cocktails

I was recently reading Harold McGee’s The Curious Cook column in the New York Times on cold infusions, and my eyes dilated when he mentioned a recipe from Maricel Presilla for making a cold infused Agua Fresca de Jamaica, the dark red drink made from a specific variety of hibiscus flower petals. I recalled that we happened to have a nice, unused stash from Mexico in our pantry that had been begging for a use for some time. This was finally the time. I made a big batch using Maricel’s recipe and now needed to find interesting and tasty ways to use it. I decided to go the cocktail route and over a couple of weeks I came up with three that I and others seemed to like. 

For inspiration and to get started, I asked Maricel for some cocktail recommendations via facebook. She responded by saying she uses it at her restaurant Cucharamama to make a cocktail she calls The “Mamapolitan,” a riff on a Cosmopolitan in which they use jamaica instead of cranberry juice. She also likes it mixed with dark aged rum. Thanks to Maricel, I was on my way.

Jamaica Me Crazy, Mon

With good friends over for dinner and some nice cherries on hand I created my first jamaica based cocktail that my wife named, “Jamaica Me Crazy, Mon”. It has 3 parts rum to one part Luxardo Maraschino Liquer to 4 parts fresh jamaica from Maricel Presilla‘s recipe to several dashes of lemon bitters. I took 8 Ranier cherries, diced and macerated them with the rum. I shook everything together over ice in a cocktail shaker and poured in a small martini glass with a pitted cherry as garnish. It wasn’t bad.

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The New World

For the next cocktail, I wanted to try a different spirit and chose Bourbon Whiskey. Since all the ingredients in this cocktail were from the Americas, I called it “A New World.” In addition to Woodford Reserve, I used Pinnacle Reserve 1859 a delicious combination of Domaine Pinnacle Quebec Ice Cider and Apple Brandy.

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Ginger Rummy

I called this last drink a Ginger Rummy for its two spirits, Bacardi white rum and Domaine Canton Ginger Liqueur. It also contained fresh lemon verbena leaves.

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These are a few off the cuff cocktails intended to highlight the sweet and sour properties of fresh Jamaica. I hope you like them. Do you have any other recipes for using Agua Fresca de jamaica in a cocktail that you’d like to share? Cheers!


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3 Responses to Jamaica Cocktails

  1. There’s a cocktail I make that uses jamaica like Maricel mentioned, to provide striking colour and subtle flavour and acidity to the drink. I call it the Island Time:
    2 oz. Appleton V/X rum
    3/4 oz. Amaretto
    1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
    1/4 oz. agua de jamaica
    2 dashes Angostura bitters

    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    • docsconz says:

      Thanks, Matthew. That sounds delicious. I was using the jamaica as a more prominent element of the cocktail, but your use of it sounds delightful.

  2. Amy Persons says:

    Thanks for reminding me I need to buy jamaica today. The coctel was lovely, and equally yummy mixed with the special ginger ale you had on hand.

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