Hibiscus margaritas are a delicious and refreshing twist on the classic Mexican cocktail. They're easy to prepare, feature a gorgeous dark pink color, and are absolutely perfect for a hot summer's day (or any day—next Taco Tuesday sounds good to me)!
(This recipe was originally published in July 2017, but was updated with new photos and content in 2022).
If I could use one word to describe this hibiscus margarita recipe it would be refreshing. A few other words I'd use are beautiful, bright, pink, delicious, fruity, and boozy.
Hibiscus flowers are also called flor de jamaica (pronounced ha-MY-cah) in Spanish, and may be labeled as such when purchasing them. The flavor of hibiscus reminds me a bit of cranberries and is definitely fruity and not floral, as you might expect. Dried hibiscus flowers are often used to make herbal hibiscus teas (both hot and iced) and also for agua fresca, a light non-alcoholic Mexican beverage.
These hibiscus margaritas are tart, fruity, and slightly sweet but not super sweet. It’s a really great balance and yields a simultaneously refreshing and boozy libation without being cloying.
- Dried Hibiscus Flowers: Dried hibiscus flowers are sold as whole flower (which look a bit like little octopuses!) or cut and sifted. I like the whole flowers but it doesn't really make a difference which one you use. The ones in the photos are whole flower although there are some broken pieces in there as well. You can purchase dried hibiscus flowers online, in Latin American markets, and I've even found them in tea shops. They're also sometimes labeled as jamaica which is their name in Spanish.
- Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup (Optional Garnish): The hibiscus flowers in syrup are completely optional, although they're a personal favorite of mine so I've got to promote them a bit. They're made by a company in Australia and each jar comes with about 11 whole hibiscus flowers preserved in sweet syrup. They are slightly chewy and remind me a bit of dried fruit leather. Not only are they very delicious, but they're impressive and a perfect garnish for these hibiscus margaritas.
- Limes: Use freshly squeezed lime juice for this recipe. Please do not use the bottled stuff. It's just not the same.
- Tequila: It should go without saying that you need tequila to make hibiscus margaritas. Use your favorite kind!
How to make it
Start by making a hibiscus syrup by soaking the dried hibiscus flowers in boiling water and sugar. Strain out the hibiscus pieces and allow the syrup to cool completely before making your margaritas.
You can either use the syrup to make a large pitcher of margaritas or shake up individual drinks.
Wet the rim of a margarita glass or tumbler by rubbing a lime wedge around the circumference. Rotate the rim of the glass in kosher (coarse) salt spread on a flat plate. Fill the glass about halfway with ice cubes, and set aside.
Then, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine some of the cooled hibiscus syrup, fresh lime juice, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau. Cover the top and shake vigorously.
Strain the mixture into the prepared glass and garnish with either a slice or wedge of lime and/or a hibiscus flower in syrup.
Alternatively combine all the hibiscus margarita ingredients in a pitcher with 2 cups of ice and stir for at least 1 minute to allow some of the ice to dissolve into the margaritas. Pour into salt-rimmed glasses filled with ice to serve.
Shaking these hibiscus margaritas vigorously will yield some foam on top. You can either leave it (as I typically do), carefully skim it from the glasses with a spoon, or pour each drink into a measuring cup with a spout first to skim and then transfer the foam-free mixture to a glass. To be honest, the foam never bothers us, but you do you. If you make this in a pitcher they shouldn't get foamy.
The glasses in these photos are rather large, and I made double margaritas to fill them up. Hibiscus margaritas are so light and refreshing (more so than many other varieties) that a double doesn't taste nearly as strong as you'd think.
Even though I refer to it as hibiscus syrup in the recipe, it's not super sweet or syrupy. It's more like a lightly sweetened hibiscus tea concentrate. The ratio of sugar to water is less than in a traditional simple syrup. Therefore these cocktails aren't very sweet, but aren't incredibly tart either. I think it's the perfect balance but if you like them sweeter you can increase the amount of sugar in the recipe, or add some agave nectar when shaking them up.
Other recipes you may like
- Prickly Pear Margarita
- Tamarind Margarita
- Guava Margarita (Guavarita)
- Fleming's Blueberry Lemon Drop Martini
- Painkiller Cocktail
- Cranberry Daiquiri
- Margarita Cupcakes
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Hibiscus Margarita (Margarita de Jamaica)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup (1 ¼ ounces / 35 grams) dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ounces homemade hibiscus syrup
- 1 ½ ounces tequila
- ½ ounce Cointreau or triple sec
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- Ice cubes
Margarita Pitcher (enough for 6 drinks):
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) homemade hibiscus syrup
- 9 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) tequila
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Cointreau or triple sec
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) freshly squeezed lime juice
- Ice cubes
- To make the syrup: Bring water to a boil in a small pot or saucepan. Add the hibiscus flowers and sugar, lower the heat to medium, and simmer steadily until the sugar dissolves and the syrup has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, and let cool. This makes about 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of syrup and keeps up to 1 week in the fridge.
- To make a single margarita: Combine hibiscus syrup, tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into a salt-rimmed ice-filled glass and serve immediately.
- To make a pitcher of margaritas: Combine the syrup, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and 2 cups of ice in a pitcher and stir very well, at least 1 minute. It’s important to stir for a full minute so some of the ice dissolves. Pour the mixture into 6 salt-rimmed ice-filled glasses and serve immediately.
- To rim your glasses with salt, gently rub a lime wedge along the rim of your glass (you can also use a bit of water to wet the rim). Add some kosher (coarse) salt to a plate and then press the wet rim of the glass against the salt, carefully rotating the glass until there is an even coating around the circumference.
- You may garnish with hibiscus flowers in syrup if you'd like! They are beautiful and delicious, but even a wedge or slice of lime will do.
- Shaking these hibiscus margaritas vigorously will yield some foam on top. You can either leave it (as I typically do), carefully skim it from the glasses with a spoon, or pour each drink into a measuring cup with a spout first to skim and then transfer the foam-free mixture to a glass. To be honest, the foam never bothers us, but you do you. If you make this in a pitcher they shouldn't get foamy.
- If you like your hibiscus margaritas sweeter you can increase the amount of sugar in the recipe, or add some agave nectar when shaking them up.
- Adapted from Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*