Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summery Rummery: A cocktail with citrus, rum, and hibiscus tea

June is iced tea month, so Kenny Chesney sent me a bottle of rum.

Yeah, think about that for a second.

Actually, the rum distillery that Kenny Chesney owns (Blue Chair Bay) sent me the rum. Not him, personally. Because that would have been way too cool. But still, it's rum.

The idea was to celebrate Iced Tea Month by making a cocktail using rum. It sounded like a fun challenge. And, rum.

The concept for this recipe boinked into my head after I squeezed some juice out of some citrus fruits for another recipe. There's a lot of flavor left in that leftover fruit. I thought about sangria, and then I thought about the tea recipe.

And then I decided to use the fruit to infuse citrus flavor into some rum. While I used partially-squeezed citrus, you could certainly use un-mashed fruit. And then when you're done infusing, I'll bet that chunks of the rum infused fruit could find some other uses.

Let me know on that, huh?

Citrus and Rum Hibiscus Tea

For the citrus-infused rum:
1 orange
1 lime
1 lemon
Blue Chair Bay Rum (as needed)

For the cocktail:
2 teabags Hibiscus Tea
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 ounce citrus-infused rum
Orange slice, for garnish

Chop the fruit into chunks and put them into a suitable container for infusing. A quart jar should be fine, unless you've got something more decorative (because it does look sort of pretty).

The rum will take on citrus flavor pretty quickly, so you can make this as little as a day ahead. It will take on more citrus flavor as time goes on, but you don't want to leave this forever. I learned that lesson a while back. The pith (the white part of the citrus) is bitter, and if you leave the citrus in the rum indefinitely, the rum will start picking up the bitterness.

If you want a long-term infusion, just use the zest and fruit, and discard the pith. A few days or a week, and you're fine, though, if the pith is included.

But it's wise to sample the infusion after the first few days to make sure that bitterness isn't creeping in. And tasty.

Back to the recipe...

Brew a strong hibiscus tea (I used the tea from The Republic of Tea) then let it cool to room temperature.

Add ice to a large glass, then add the agave and rum. Fill the glass with the brewed hibiscus tea, and stir. Taste and add more agave, if you prefer it sweeter. Garnish with an orange slice and serve.