Our final Quarantine Highball – Hibiscus Ginger Highball is a luscious combination of peppery rye, tart hibiscus and hot ginger, all cooled off over ice. Just because a cocktail is pink doesn’t mean it’s just for women. This rye-forward hibiscus ginger highball combines the peppery spice of rye and ginger with tart notes of hibiscus and citrus lemon notes. Adding in ginger and lemon bitters just ups the ante – pulling some bitter notes in to balance the hibiscus ginger syrup.
If you’re just joining me for Quarantine Highball week, I’ve got a a Highball Whiskey Spritz and a That’s No Moon Lavender Orange Highball, It Ain’t All Sunhine and Peaches, and a Root Beer Highball. )
There are some days when I just need a bright cocktail in my hand. Maybe it’s a sunny day and I want to celebrate all that I’ve accomplished, or maybe it’s a dreary day and I need something to cheer me up. Either way, the deep magenta color of this cocktail can appeal to everyone (although the traditionally better palate of women makes them a little more adept at finding the subtle combination of flavors in this tipple).
When I went to put the hibiscus ginger simple together, I ended up with a dark, almost black syrup, but when used in smaller amounts, it imparts a generous magenta tone to a cocktail. It’s a lovely blend of tart hibiscus and peppery ginger flavors, and I think those two notes blend impressively with a healthy dose of rye as the base spirit of the cocktail. Bourbon will work as well – especially a high rye mashbill at 95 proof or over.
Since you’ll be enhancing those tart and citrusy notes with the Trader Joe’s hibiscus lemongrass sparkling beverage you’ll need to look for a rye that stands out. I found Rittenhouse rye and Pikesville rye both excellent in the drink. Both keep the rye from disappearing under the other flavors, and with a higher proof, Pikesville can pack quite a punch.
I didn’t get my simple syrup quite gingery enough for me – I love a real ginger heat to a simple when I’m playing with ginger – I was unable to find any fresh ginger and the grocery stores the last 3 weeks, and ginger power doesn’t give me enough punch. If you’ve got a fresh ginger root, though, you should be able to get a much better spiciness from the simple that I was with dried ginger root and ginger powder.
For the garnish, I’ve had these hibiscus flowers for ages (from Trader Joe’s) and topping a cocktail with a flower is always a happy thing. Adding in a little candied ginger to expand the heat just makes the last few sips (and bites) of the cocktail even better.
Petals to the Metal – Hibiscus Highball
- 2 oz Rittenhouse Rye (or any 100 proof or over rye
- ½ oz hibiscus ginger simple syrup**
- 8 drop Meyer Lemon bitters
- 2 dashes Hella ginger bitters
- 2-4 oz Hibiscus Lemongrass sparkling beverage (Trader Joe’s)
- Garnish: candied ginger and dried hibiscus flowers (Trader Joe’s)
- Combine rye, simple syrup and bitters in the bottom of a highball glass. Add bitters and stir. Add ice to the glass, top with sparkling beverage and give one last swirl. Garnish with candied ginger and dried hibiscus flower.