HIBISCUS KINNOW SANGRIA (Alcohol free)

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Being a teetotaler means I can never enjoy Sangria that is conventionally made with wine. However, one does not necessarily need wine to enjoy this beautiful Spanish drink coz there is always a way out for people like me or when you want to serve it to children. I know it won’t be the same as original but I guess it is the closest I can get to having Sangria.

I had made an impulse purchase when I bought hibiscus flowers in Dubai (just because they looked and sounded so exotic) and they had been lying tucked away in a corner of my kitchen cabinet, completely forgotten. How could I possibly forget something I had loved and treasured when I had purchased it with much enthusiasm?! Well, I think of it as a classic case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ kind of occurrence. Thanks to spring cleaning, they came out of the oblivion and lent their beautiful ruby color to this beautiful Sangria besides giving lovely floral notes. I had used kinnow as they were in season then. Kinnow is a mandarin hybrid (cultivated majorly in Pakistan and India) which has a lot of seeds and a lot of juice. And I have yet to come across a kinnow that is not sweet. They perfectly counter balanced the tartness of hibiscus. A little bit of lemon juice and a few slices of it add a nice zing to the drink, bringing all the flavors together.

In fact, I have used this not very well known variety of lemon, typically found in Bengali kitchens, called Gondhoraj (king of fragrance) Lebu to this sangria. They are apparently a cross between a lime and mandarin orange. They have this unbelievably heady fragrance that is oh so good! Not very juicy though but add a slice or two of this oblong lemon to your drink and you will never want to go back to your regular limes for sure!

For Hibiscus Syrup

¼ c + 1 tbsp Hibiscus flowers (dried)

½ inch piece of Ginger (sliced)

7 tbsp Sugar

1 inch Cinnamon

For Sangria

½ litre/ 500 ml Kinnow Juice (from approx 5 medium sized), freshly squeezed

½ C sliced, Green Grapes

½ C sliced, Black Grapes

¾ C thickly sliced, Strawberries

(feel free to use fruits of your choice)

1 Lime, sliced

1 Orange, halved & sliced

Juice of 1 Lime

Handful of mint leaves, cleaned and washed

For the syrup

Mix together all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Switch off the heat and cover the pot.

Let the flavors steep for half an hour.

Strain the syrup and allow to cool completely.

For Sangria 

In a large jar or  a jug, mix together the hibiscus syrup, lime juice and kinnow juice.

Stir well.

Add the fruits and mint leaves and refrigerate for a few hours to chill. Pour in glasses along with fruits and top with ice.

Celebrate summers! Enjoy!

Note – You can increase the amount of juice to up to 750 ml.

Note – I added just a wee bit of kala namak (rock salt) to my sangria and it tasted good beyond words!

Note – Feel free to use lemonade instead of orange or kinnow juice. You can even use club soda or sparkling water instead of juice.

Note – Since the kinnow I used were pretty sweet, therefore I used less amount of sugar for the hibiscus syrup. Adjust the sweetness accordingly.

Yield – Makes 900 ml (i.e. a mix of juice & hibiscus syrup)

Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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