|Pilates Penitent's Prize|
This post nearly didn’t get done at all. There was the juicing of the orange, the shaking of the cocktail, and the stretching to reach the keyboard to type it all up. Each action caused a wince, a groan, and a desire to pop some nurofen. What was wrong with me? Attendance at a particularly evil pilates class was to blame, apparently there is quite a difference between a level 1-2 and a level 2. There is a silver lining to this exercise-fuelled cloud though as I felt totally justified in making and consuming this cocktail on a school night and it give me the idea for the nicely alliterative name!
I first heard of the idea of using hibiscus flowers in a drink when I came across these jars of the whole flowers in syrup which you can add to sparkling wine. When I came across dried hibiscus flowers in the Asia market on Drury street I have to admit that I bought them for the very innocent purpose of making tea. I am surprised at how long it took me to have the thought that this flower, that produces a vibrant, tart, ruby red tea, with floral and red fruit notes, might work equally well as a cocktail ingredient.
While I think the hibiscus could produce an interesting infused spirit I decided to start simply with a flavoured syrup. Making a syrup from the hibiscus eliminated most of the tart aspect of its flavour so I thought it would contrast nicely with fresh orange juice and a small amount of lime. It was just the ticket to help me forget my poor, aching muscles.
pilates penitent’s prize (makes one)
15ml triple sec
juice of one orange (approx 60ml)
2 dashes of orange bitters (optional)
squeeze of lime
handful of ice
15ml hibiscus syrup (see below for recipe)
Orange curl/twist and short straw to garnish
Make your orange peel garnish and then cut your orange in half and juice it through a small sieve to remove any pips and pulp. Pour the vodka, triple sec, orange juice, bitters and lime into a cocktail shaker and add some ice. Shake to combine and fine strain into a martini glass. Pour the hibiscus syrup straight into the middle of the drink, it will sink to the bottom creating an attractive pink layer. Serve with your orange garnish and either a short straw, or one snipped to the right length. Stir to combine before drinking.
1 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup water
2 cups caster sugar
Bring the cup of water to the boil in a small saucepan. When it boils take it off the heat and stir in the hibiscus flowers, leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer to remove the flowers, rinse the pan and return the liquid to the pan, discard the flowers. Place the pan back on the heat and add the sugar, heat the liquid until the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Wait until it cools and either use straight away or store in an airtight container in the fridge.