Dark, rich and exotic describes my latest summer crush. Its a new love – one that started only a couple weeks ago – but I can tell its the start of a real, enduring love affair. Its something so rousing, seductive and ambrosial I can’t wait to share all the juicy details!
I am referring, of course, to my latest kombucha recipe – Cherry Hibiscus Chiller. It combines the rich, red taste of sweet cherries with tart and tropical hibiscus flavours for a lavish and lively refreshment. It is the perfect summer libation for lounging on the patio and soaking up the sun. It also makes a good stand in for wine; pairing perfectly with a picnic of fine cheeses, crackers, ham, pickles and baguette.
The recipe itself was inspired by a weekend shopping trip. I picked up a couple colourful hibiscus from the garden centre to dress up the patio and also loaded up on fresh, seasonal fruits. Cherries were on sale for a particularly good price, so I took the opportunity to load up and create a few new recipes and put some up in the freezer for later.
After several hours of work with my cherry pitter, stained hands and juice splattered EVERYWHERE in the kitchen, I had made about 2L of paleo cherry ketchup, 5 freezer bags of cherries to enjoy later in the year, 1L of fresh cherry juice, fruit crackers and of course, quite the mess! Even though clean up took another entire hour of scrubbing every single kitchen surface – it was worth it!
Afterward, sitting in my kitchen absolutely spent, I was craving a nice refreshing beverage to pick up my spirits. I knew I wanted to use some of the cherry juice for my next batch of kombucha, but I sat there smacking my lips and pondering what else I could add to really make it sing. “Hmm, rosemary? Vanilla? Mmm, yes that would be nice! Oh, wait – right, I just ran out of vanilla… shoot….”
That’s when I had the lightbulb moment. I was admiring the alluring blooms on the hibiscus that were still sitting in the kitchen from the shopping trip and remembered “I HAVE HIBISCUS TEA!!! Perfect!” So I brewed a quick cup, let it cool, and made a fresh batch of kombucha with the blended cherry juice and hibiscus tea and it turned out AHH-MAZE-ING! Possibly my favourite flavour ever. Sweet, deep and complex, its very indulgent and mouth-watering.
Cherry Hibiscus Chiller
You will need:
- 1L flip top bottle
- Or 2 x 500mL bottles
- Juicer or Blender & sieve
- 250mls hibiscus tea, cooled
- (250mls boiling water with 2 tsps dried hibiscus petals)
- 250mls cherry juice
- (approx 1 cup of fresh cherries if juicing yourself)
- 500mls brewed kombucha
- Brew your Hibiscus tea, set aside to let cool.
- Juice cherries. Save the pulp for making Fruit Crackers.
- Pour 250mLs of the cherry juice and 250mLs hibiscus tea into your 1L flip top bottle, then top with Kombucha to fill to the base of the bottleneck.
- Seal and leave at room temperature for 3-7 days to build up carbonation.
- Chill and enjoy!
Now is the season of peak fruit harvest so don’t be shy about making the most of it – even if it gets a bit messy at times! Freshly picked fruits pack so much more flavour and nutrients than off-season imports so I encourage you to indulge while you can. Fermenting is a great way to preserve the harvest a little while longer so be bold and experimental – you never know when a brilliant idea may spark. And wherever you choose to enjoy this Cherry Hibiscus Chiller, I hope you are surrounded by beauty and peace and the sun is smiling down at you.