Hibiscus Lemonade

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A vibrant red drink that’s perfectly sweet and tart, hibiscus lemonade is extra refreshing on hot summer days. It’s made with only 4 ingredients!

Hibiscus Lemonade in a clear glass with lemon slices.

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Refreshing Hibiscus Lemonade

Naturally bright red, hibiscus is a popular ingredient that adds a tart, cranberry-like flavor to everything from jams to drinks.

Though it’s typically referred to as a flower, the part that’s used is actually the hibiscus calyces, a part of the plant that protects the bud and supports petals.

The calyces are dried and used to make non-caffeinated herbal teas, or tisanes.

This recipe combines brewed hibiscus tea with sweet and tart lemonade to make a refreshing, vibrant drink for hot summer days.

RELATED: Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Recipe Highlights

  • This layered, caffeine-free hibiscus lemonade is a cold drink made with hibiscus tea, water, lemonade, and ice.
  • The lemonade is sweet so there’s no need for sugar.
  • This recipe makes 16 ounces (2 cups) but can easily be increased to make a big pitcher.

RELATED: Hibiscus Syrup

Ingredient Notes

Hibiscus Lemonade ingredients measured in cups and labeled on a table.
  • Hibiscus tea: Loose hibiscus tea is higher quality since it has larger pieces, but hibiscus tea bags will work well in this recipe too.
  • Lemonade: Use your favorite store-bought lemonade. I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s lemonade.
  • Water: Always use filtered water for the best tasting tea.
  • Ice: Make ice with filtered water if possible.

For full ingredients and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Pouring hot water into a teapot with hibiscus tea leaves.

Step 1: Put hibiscus tea and hot water into a teapot. Boil water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting.

Steeping hibiscus tea in a teapot.

Step 2: Cover and steep. Strain out hibiscus solids and let cool.

Pouring lemonade into a cup with ice and lemons.

Step 3: Pour lemonade into a cup with ice. Optional: Garnish with thinly sliced lemon.

Pouring hibiscus tea into a cup with lemonade.

Step 4: Add cooled down hibiscus tea.

Recipe Notes

Always use food-grade hibiscus.

To make sure you aren’t using flowers treated with pesticides, only buy hibiscus that’s meant for eating and drinking.

Check to see that the hibiscus is food-grade or labeled as hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus can be steeped for a while.

Unlike teas, which need to be steeped at a specific temperature for a set time, herbal tisanes like hibiscus won’t get bitter if they’re left in hot water for longer.

Its flavor will just continue to intensify.

Make the tea ahead of time.

Steep the hibiscus tea in advance and store in the fridge for up to 4 days, then mix with the lemonade when ready to serve.

Make it layered.

To make a layered drink, start by adding the sweetest parts first.

In this recipe, that means the lemonade, followed by the unsweetened tea. The bigger the difference in sugar levels, the more distinct the layers will be.

The ice also helps to keep the layers separated.

RELATED: Frozen Hibiscus Lemonade

Expert Tips

  • Add a syrup such as strawberry or ginger, but be aware that’ll add make the drink sweeter.
  • If you want more control over the sugar levels, use a homemade lemonade, which allows you to use less sweetener.
  • To add thinly sliced lemons, line them inside the cup first, then add the ice. The lemonade can be poured in next.
  • In addition to iced or hot teas, you can use hibiscus to make a simple syrup or a cold foam topping.

Questions You May Have

Is hibiscus tea good for you?

Hibiscus tea by itself is known to have lots of health benefits. It provides antioxidants, reduces high blood pressure and high blood sugar, and has antiviral properties.

Does hibiscus lemonade have caffeine?

No, since hibiscus tea is a caffeine-free herbal tea.

What does hibiscus tea taste like?

Hibiscus tea has a tart, floral flavor that’s often compared to cranberry or pomegranate. It can be enjoyed sweetened or unsweetened.

Hibiscus Lemonade In clear glass.

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5 from 1 vote

Hibiscus Lemonade

By: Jee Choe
A vibrant red drink that's perfectly sweet and tart, hibiscus lemonade is extra refreshing on hot summer days. It's made with only 4 ingredients!
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

Ingredients 

  • 2 teaspoons hibiscus tea, (or 1 tea bag)
  • cup hot water
  • cup lemonade
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 lemon slices, (optional garnish)

Instructions 

  • Put hibiscus tea and ⅓ cup of hot water into a teapot.
    Boil water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Set water temperature to 195°F.
  • Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain tea and let cool.
    Herbal teas like hibiscus can be steeped for longer without getting bitter.
  • Pour lemonade into a cup with ice. Add cooled down hibiscus tea.
    Optional: Garnish with thinly sliced lemon.

Notes

  • Loose hibiscus tea is higher quality since it has larger pieces, but a tea bag will work too.
  • Always use food-grade hibiscus. 
  • Use your favorite store-bought lemonade, or make one from scratch.
  • Hibiscus tea can be made in advance. Brew hibiscus tea and store in the fridge for up to 4 days, then mix with the lemonade when ready to serve.
  • To make a layered drink, start by adding the sweetest parts first. In this recipe, that means the lemonade, followed by the tea. The bigger the difference in sugar levels, the more distinct the layers will be.
  • If you want more control over the sugar levels, use a homemade lemonade, which allows you to use less sweetener.
  • To add thinly sliced lemons, line them inside the cup first, then add the ice. The lemonade can be poured in next followed by the cooled down hibiscus tea.

Nutrition

Calories: 80Carbohydrates: 20gSodium: 26mgSugar: 19gCalcium: 9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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