Hibiscus Syrup

hibiscus syrup @ Playful Cooking

There are different categories of people when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Some love it, some hate it and some make fun of it. I fall in a different group, the one with folks who like to celebrate any day that calls for yummy food, good drinks and quality time with your loved ones! And irrespective of the occasion falling on a weekend or a busy weekday, our kind figures out some way to make it special. I cherish this day, which is celebrated all across the globe where every one is speaking one single language – Love! The day is filled with chocolates, champagne, roses, love notes, kisses and the world is painted red.


Keeping in mind the color of love, I have this sexy red, flavorful hibiscus syrup for you. Drizzle a little on fruit or salad vinaigrette, swirl it on ice cream or yogurt and on a special evening, stir it with your choice of alcohol and get a little tipsy.


hibiscus syrup @ Sunshine and Smile


Vodka with hibiscus and citrus @ Sunshine and Smile


Vodka with hibiscus and citrus @ Sunshine and Smile


Our Valentine’s Day was like any other busy weekday except with more yumminess involved.  There was a grown up version of mac and cheese for lunch, a citrusy cocktail and gnocchi with basil pesto for dinner followed by late night chocolate fudge cake. Eating out would have been more relaxing but then again, who likes to spend a romantic evening in a crowded restaurant. While he was busy at work, I stayed active in my tiny kitchen preparing our favorites.


dried hibiscus flowers for hibiscus syrup @ Sunshine and Smile


Vodka with hibiscus and citrus @ Sunshine and Smile


Good homemade syrup always comes handy. It’s easy to make and you can flavor it the way you like. I added some ginger, lemon peels and couple of star anise in it. As it boiled, the color got darker, it released the flavor and in about 15 minutes or so, I had a bottle of hibiscus syrup ready to be used.


Recipe card for Hibiscus Syrup @ Playful Cooking

Hibiscus Syrup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 inch ginger, finely grated
  • 2 whole star anise
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar, add more if you like it sweeter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a deep pan, mix all the ingredients and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, cover it with a lid and let it steep for 5 more minutes.
  4. Strain it through a sieve and store the syrup in an airtight bottle.

Did you ever make hibiscus syrup? If yes, where did you use it later? I am looking for more ideas, please share with me if you have any!


Recipe card for Hibiscus Syrup @ Sunshine and Smile


Did you enjoy this Hibiscus Syrup? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    February 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Wow..an absolute must for me..my Hibiscus shrubs will thanks you for it! Am sure the syrup could be used to make a warm Hibiscus tea also..lovely clicks, Kankana.

  • Eva Toneva
    Eva Toneva
    February 15, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I love homemade drinks. Amazing photos! 🙂

  • Rosa
    February 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Exquisite syrup and photography! The flavor of hibiscus is so interesting.



  • Grishma
    February 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I LOVE Hibiscus n your photography is just mind blowing! I guess I do need to move to CA to learn from you 🙂

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      I don’t care what you reason is, just move here babe 😀 We will have fun doing things we both enjoy!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    February 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    What a stunning gift!

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    February 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I am loving the the deep red color of the syrup… You know I have tried hibicus glazed fruit once… Now you have inspired me to try my hands on it at home 😉
    Stunning Shots as always…

  • Archana
    February 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Wow! Gorgeous shots….love the rich red color! I have never tried hibiscus syrup…but this does make me want to try it out soon!

  • Soma
    February 15, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I have never heard about it. The pictures are mind blowing too.
    Regarding the Valentines day celebration, there is the fourth group, like me, who is confused. To celebrate or not to celebrate. To surrender to the Hallmark, Archie and Macy’s sale for love or just be myself and celebrate love everyday.

  • Manju
    February 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Never heard of a Hibiscus Syrup, but i bet my Hus would love this, as he is crazy abt Rose syrup…I’m not a fan of flowery syrups though…high time I changed my mind 🙂

    Love the pics and that blue board or backgrouns you are using…


  • Laura (Blogging Over
    Laura (Blogging Over
    February 15, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Never would have thought to make this, but I’m loving it! Looks amazing. The photographs are absolutely beautiful too. Love the dark background with the red syrup, great contrast.

  • Kiran
    February 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Gorgeous styling and delicious recipe!! You take amazing cocktail photos!

  • Ira Rodrigues
    Ira Rodrigues
    February 15, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    I like everything involved ginger and when i read your recipe, i fall in love! great clicks Kan

  • Rose/Magpies Recipes
    Rose/Magpies Recipes
    February 15, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Very romantic K! Love the colour and am sure it tasted great too! Am sure it could be put to a hundred uses in dessert- maybe thickened a little and made like a coulis to drizzle over panacotta, icecream, pudding,.. or to poach pears and other fruit?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      Oh I love the idea of using it in poached pear! 🙂

  • indugetscooking
    February 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I love, love the first vodka shot….Makes me want to grab it even though I don’t drink (alcohol) at all!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      omit the vodka and enjoy 🙂 It’s still tastes good!

  • Arch
    February 15, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Wow, never heard of this…how do you get these ideas ? Fantastic clicks, as always

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Oh I make syrup with several things, it’s one of my fav thing to store in pantry 🙂

  • Lail | With A Spin
    Lail | With A Spin
    February 15, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I’ve had hibiscus tea in Egypt and the flavor was exquisite. The sound of adding ginger and lemon to it makes me want to make the syrup. Where do you find dried hibiscus?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I found it in a middle eastern store. I don’t think it’s that tough to find. You can also look for it online 🙂

  • Nandita
    February 15, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    I had never heard of this gorgeous syrup before. Just Loved the red!! Thanks for introducing me to something new Kankana 🙂

  • Colette @ JFF!
    Colette @ JFF!
    February 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    I recently discovered this Mexican staple “agua de Jamaica.”
    And, I love it!
    Now, add vodka? What a cocktail!

  • Melanie
    February 16, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    wow , what an amazing idea ! And I loooove your beautiful pictures !
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    kind regards from vienna

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Thank you Melanie. I am on love with your photography and your blog 🙂

  • Lizzy (Good Things)
    Lizzy (Good Things)
    February 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Wow, this sounds amazing!

  • Usha
    February 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Kankana, Very creative and appealing presentation of Hibiscus syrup. I have never made syrup but my mother used to make hibiscus oil by boiling fresh/ dried hibiscus flowers in oil, that is remedy for hair growth. Some times hibiscus and Brahmi leaves were combined to make oil.
    Here locally (NC)many ladies save hibiscus flowers in summer to make oil…Last year I missed, going to do this summer.
    Thanks for sharing this post.


    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I have horrible hair. I definitely should try the oil. So which oil should I use ?

      • Usha
        February 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        I will suggest you to use pure coconut oil.You can first try making with 2 cups of oil..give first preference to fresh red color hibiscus flowers (original desi color), if you don’t find go with dry ones. You can use one cup full coarse dry crushed flowers, for more benefits add 1 heaped tbsp soaked methi seeds, grind it to paste. Mix everything in oil, slow boil for 10-15 minutes, later simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes.( You can use slow cooker too, but do it without closing lid, let it go for 2 hours on high or more time on low setting). Let oil sit in pot for one or two days, then filter using coffee filter or cloth. You will experience not so pleasant aroma so apply on a restful day, leave for few hours before washing hairs.

        I will be doing few experiments this summer, I will let you know.Look for “eclipta alba” (Maka or Bhringraj)in google for more hair benefits.

  • nipponnin
    February 16, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    What a gorgeous color! I like the bottle too. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

  • Pauline
    February 16, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Hibiscus Syrup is amazing with champagne. Pour small amount of syrup in bottom of a fluted glass and top with champagne. YUM!!
    Your syrup looks wonderful!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Thanks! I will try with champagne next time 🙂

  • rebecca
    February 16, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    love it creative recipe and going to restaurants is crazy at valentines so busy, Hope your well hugs Rebecca

  • Mallika
    February 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    We had many hibiscus plants around our bunglow long ago. But they flowers always made it to dress the Gods and Goddesses, they never made it to our dining tables! I have never heard about this syrup. The pictures are brilliant Kankana.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      yeah, it’s a tradition in my parent’s house too. My dad loved gardening and has several pots of hibiscus flowers of different colors, which gets offered to god every morning 🙂

  • Liren
    February 16, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Incredible! I can’t get over the stunning color, and I can just taste the cocktail! So beautiful! I’m glad you had such a delicious Valentine’s Day 🙂

  • Nonie
    February 17, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    We make a hibiscus syrup several times a year for drinks. I have used the syrup as a glaze for fish and pork. That is delightful! I have come up with desserts like poached or baked fruit or a topping for ice cream and add just a little for color and slight flavour to whipping cream. Thank you for sharing and posting your lovely pics.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      I love your idea of using it with fish. That’s what I will do tonight! Thanks a lot Nonie 🙂

  • sulagna
    February 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Kankana this is beautiful..i have never heard of this but so want to try it..perhaps the baby’s Gerber bottles will come to use now 🙂

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      ha ha ha that would make a nice prop 🙂

  • Jess
    February 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    I love the color of that syrup, and I’m so curious about the flavor! Fantastic idea for a drink!

  • Melissa Ross
    Melissa Ross
    February 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    What a great gift idea…my girlfriends would love this! Is there somewhere you can buy dried hibicus flowers? How long do you think this would keep? I can’t wait to try this…would be so yummy over so many different things. I can’t wait to try.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      I bought it from a near by middle eastern store. I don’t think it’s very difficult to find and you can always look for it in amazon! I am so glad you liked it 🙂 I usually make small batches and keep it for couple of weeks maximum. Never kept beyond that!

  • Jenn@TheNoshingBride
    [email protected]
    February 18, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    What an adorable gift idea! Lovely photos by the way. Can I ask what type of light source you’re using?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Thank you Jenn 🙂 I shoot only by the window in day light!

  • Abbe@ThisIsHowICook
    [email protected]
    February 18, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Sounds great. You can find dried hibiscus flowers also in many Mexican groceries. I think this would be great to flavor ice tea. How long will it keep?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      Thanks Abbe 🙂 I never make any syrup in a huge quantity so it usually finishes faster. It should stay good for few weeks in the refrigerator and if frozen, probably it will last even longer.

  • Eva
    February 18, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    So stunning! I love your photography, such a beautiful style. I’ve been wanting to make hibiscus syrup for a while but lack a hibiscus plant. My neighbor down the street has one, however, and I am tempted to ask them if I can have a few of their dried up blossoms so I can give this a try.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 19, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      I too hope you find some from your neighbors! And thanks so much for you kind words. I am a huge fan of your photography.

  • Julia
    February 18, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I make homemade kombucha and have made a few simple syrups in order to flavor it. I’ve never made anything using hibiscus, though I’ve had store-bought hibiscus tea and love it! I’m going to make your recipe and flavor my kombucha with it! Thanks for the handy dandy recipe!

  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    February 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    This is absolutely gorgeous!! Love the color of the syrup 🙂
    There is a restaurant in Auroville Pondicherry which serves hibiscus soda and my husband loves it. Never thought about making it at home. Where did you buy the dried hibiscus petals?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 19, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Thanks Chinmayie 🙂 I fond it in a middle eastern store. I am not sure if you can find it in India but I know this flower is very popular in India. So I guess you can always dry it and then use it for syrup. Or you can also look for the dried ones online in Amazon.

  • Priya
    February 19, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Kankana, the syrup looks so so beautiful! Stunning colour. And great pics too! Love all of them 🙂

  • Cookin Canuck
    Cookin Canuck
    February 19, 2013 at 6:02 AM

    I like the way you think…celebrating Valentine’s Day with good food and drinks. This syrup and that drink are gorgeous!

  • wok with ray
    wok with ray
    February 19, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    I am definitely with you on that, Kankana. I love any day and celebrations that involve good food, and fun and that’s the way life should be. Your photography is stunningly gorgeous. I hope you are having a wonderful week, Kankana! 🙂

  • erin @ yummy supper
    erin @ yummy supper
    February 19, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Kankana, I love that you look at Valentine’s day as an excuse for deliciousness! Perfect. And your hibiscus syrup is brilliant. The addition of citrus and ginger… sounds divine.

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    February 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    the color is just beautiful! So elegant and rich and yet sweet! LOVE

  • Princy
    February 19, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    lovely syrup:) amazing pictures.

  • IshitaUnblogged
    February 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Oh my God! Totally stumped by this post… I had a Hibiscus Drink in one of my holidays recently but absolutely forgot to ask the resort how they made it. I think this is the most beautiful post in your blog till now, or is it the love factor that’s making me think this way? Sharing… and drooling!

  • reese@SeasonwithSpic
    [email protected]
    February 21, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    This is one hot sexy drink to make on the Valentine’s Day! Hibiscus is Malaysia’s national flower, so it is definitely a great idea for me to keep a bottle at home whenever we have guests over.

  • Ileana
    February 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Wow! I’m so happy to have discovered your blog. I’m a big fan of hibiscus tea but I’d never seen a recipe for the syrup before. Your photography is beautiful. I’m your newest fan.

  • Hari Chandana
    Hari Chandana
    March 15, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Wowww.. looks too good and awesome.. Love the color 🙂

  • Geraldine Nuttall
    Geraldine Nuttall
    April 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    so pleased to find this recipe. Brought hibiscus dried flowers back from Egypt and wondered how to make a preserve for them Have only had already made syrup with flowers, but wanted to make my own. I hope to take them (300miles) to use in sparkling wine for grandaughter’s wedding next week!! Any tips on how to keep flowers afloat in ordinary wine glasses?

  • Mercy
    May 7, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    You inspired me to make hibicus simple syrup frozen ice cubes for my iced tea. Thank you!

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