Bissap is a beverage made from the hibiscus vine's Roselle species. The water turns yellow, red, magenta, or dark when the sepals of the hibiscus flower are infused in hot water. It's important to note that the sepals or calyxes of the flower, not the petals, are used to make this versatile drink. It's served cold, with a generous amount of sugar.
Nigerians call it 'Zobo', Ghanaians call it 'Sobolo', and Senegalese, Congolese, Malians and Burkinabes call it Bissap. In Senegal, it is even referred to as the national drink. Agua de Flor de Jamaica, or Agua de Jamaica, as it's known in Mexico, Central America, and South America, is usually served chilled. Its Arabic word, Karkade, is so valuable that it is used to toast wedding celebrations in Egypt and Sudan. It's usually drunk during the Christmas season in Jamaica, including a Christmas punch cocktail with rum and ginger.
Knowing the various names for the Bissap drink will mean that you continue to drink it regardless of where you are in the world. So, join me in my kitchen and let's get this party started!
1. 1 to 2 cups of Bissap (sorrel or Roselle or flor de jamaica)
2. 1/2 of a cup of sugar (to taste).
3. 6 – 12 cups of purified water.
4. 2 table spoons of grated ginger (as you like)
5. Strawberry food flavour (optional)
1. To remove dirt, rinse the leaves in cold water.
2. In a large pot, carry 1 liter of water to a gentle simmer.
3. Enable the water to come to a strong boil before adding the Bissap dried flower and ginger. Cook for a few minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the juice into a large mixing bowl.
5. Replace the Bissap flower in the pot and add another liter of water to keep it moist.
6. Strain the juice from the second batch into the first batch.
7. Continue straining and adding fresh water until the color lightens.
8. Sieve the juice one more time to ensure that it is completely clear.
9. Toss in the sugar and seasonings.
10. Refrigerate the juice or serve over ice to cool it down.
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