Festive Hibiscus & Pineapple Infused Gin
This deep red infused gin is undoubtedly my favourite holiday tipple. It makes a beautiful gift and really shines in festive cocktails.
I am not much of a cocktail drinker. However, I have to confess that I love a gorgeous cocktail during the holidays — especially when that cocktail is a deep, rich, festive red.
In West Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, deep red hibiscus drinks are a year round affair. These drinks, which are sweetened and served cold, involve a wide variety of tropical fruits and seasonings. They are usually non-alcoholic. So, they are beloved by children of all ages
When I was in Abidjan recently, I enjoyed just such a drink. A friend offered me a delicious, cold, refreshing glass of bissap — which is a popular West African juice made from hibiscus and pineapple. This gin was inspired by the tastiness of that lovely glass of bissap.
However, being alcoholic, it’s quite a bit naughtier. Don’t worry, though, when you brew this gin for your friends and family, you’ll go straight to Santa’s “nice” list — regardless of what you’ve done this year.
I recommend you make a lot more of this delicious infused gin than you think you’ll need. You will be surprised how much you’ll enjoy the bright cocktails you make with it. Plus, in a pretty bottle, with a bit of ribbon, nothing says “I love you” quite like a gift from your own kitchen.
Making infused gins is a deceptively simple process. However, when working with hibiscus tea (feuille de bissap in French), you must be exceedingly careful. Without proper precautions, you’ll wind up dying yourself — and your entire kitchen — ruby red.
If you’re particularly worried about stains, you could strain the finished gin into bottles outdoors. Otherwise, I’ve had very good luck — in my pure white kitchen — with just a bit of caution.
I bottle my gin in two steps. First, I ladle the steeped brew through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Then I ladle the strained gin very carefully into a funnel placed into the jar or bottle I am using to store or gift it.
I hope you and yours enjoy this gin as much as we do. Happy holidays and bon appétit!