This sparkling jamaica drink is made with hibiscus syrup, lime juice, sparkling water, and a sprig of basil! Inspired by a poolside mocktail we had in Mexico, this sweet & refreshing drink can be made in minutes if you have a stash of hibiscus syrup handy.
Over the summer Steve and I accidentally spent a week in Mexico by ourselves.
“Accidentally” because we were planning to bring our youngest two kids with us, but we didn’t get their passports renewed in time. Huge mom fail on that one.
So, we made the best of the situation and spent an entire week child-free laying by the pool, enjoying the ocean, and eating lots of tacos. Rough life, right? That trip was super fun and doubled as an early 20th anniversary trip. (How did we get this old?)
Anyway, this little jamaica drink mocktail wowed me so much I took some notes and was determined to recreate it when we got home.
This is a somewhat unusual post for me. I rarely post drink recipes. And I rarely use this much refined sugar in a recipe. (More on this later)
That being said….
This gorgeous, berry-hued drink is SO, SO good. You only need a handful of ingredients and it’s not hard to make hibiscus syrup! I’ll walk you through the whole thing.
What is Jamaica drink made of?
My version has hibiscus syrup, fresh lime juice, sparkling water, and a sprig of basil.
You could also make a simplified version with chilled hibiscus tea sweetened how ever you like. It’s typically called an agua fresca that way.
Why is the Mexican drink called Jamaica?
I didn’t realize this until this summer, but the spanish word for hibiscus (as in hibiscus flowers) is “jamaica”. There you have it.
Is Jamaica drink good for you?
Hibiscus itself has a lot of nutritional benefits! It has lots of vitamin C, aids in reducing inflammation. It may also lower cholesterol & blood pressure, fight bacteria, and act as a diuretic.
That being said….
This recipe uses hibiscus syrup which has a lot of refined sugar which might not outweigh the benefits. If you were to make a simple hibiscus iced tea and sweeten it with tea it would be a much healthier option.
How to make hibiscus syrup
First, find some dried hibiscus flowers. I found some in the bulk section of a local grocery store (Winco, if you live in the Western US). You could also find dried hibiscus on Amazon.
Soak the dried flowers boiling 4 cups water to make a concentrated tea.
Then turn it into a simple syrup by dissolving an equal amount of sugar into the tea. So, if you have 1 1/2 cups of hibiscus tea, add 1 1/2 cup sugar.
I KNOW. It’s a lot of sugar.
I played with this, trying to find a natural sweetener. Or by cutting the amout of sugar in half.
Nope. It didn’t work. natural sweeteners like honey and coconut sugar gave the hibiscus tea a funny flavor and cutting the amount of sweetener made the syrup not sweet enough to sweeten the drink.
You’ll only use 2-4 Tablespoons of syrup per drink.
Putting the drinks together
Once you have your hibiscus syrup finished, it’s easy to put these sparkling jamaica drinks together.
Add 2-4 Tablespoons of syrup to an 8-ounce glass over ice. Our new fridge makes these funky craft ice balls. I’m obssesed with them.
Add the juice from a lime, and then fill the glass the rest of the way with sparkling water.
I use regular plain sparkling water, but you can play around with unsweetened, flavored sparkling waters!
Don’t forget a sprig of basil! Seems a little out of place but that hit of something a little herby really pulls the whole thing together. Mint would also be good here.
How long will hibiscus syrup keep in the fridge?
Store the rest of the hibiscus syrup in the fridge for easy drinks later! It should last about a month in the fridge.
The amount of hibiscus syrup in this recipe should make about 16 drinks if you use 3 Tablespoons of syrup per drink.
Can I double the amount of syrup?
Yes. I’ve successfully doubled this recipe making 6 cups of syrup.
Can I make this jamaica drink into a cocktail?
Sure! Adding a little tequila would make fun twist on a margarita.
More Non-Alcoholic Drink recipes
If you like this jamaica drink recipe, try one of these refreshing non-alcoholic drink recipes on my site!
If you make one of my recipes, be sure to post it on social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!
- 3 Tablespoons hibiscus syrup (see note)
- Juice from 1 juicy lime, about 3 Tablespoons
- Plain Sparkling water
- Fresh basil
- Once you have the hibiscus syrup made these easy drinks come together in just minutes. See recipe notes for instructions on making hibiscus syrup.
- Add a couple ice cubes to an 10-12 ounce glass. Add hibiscus syrup and lime juice. Fill the cup the rest of the way with sparkling water. Taste, adding more syrup or lime juice so it suits your taste.
- Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve.
How to make hibiscus syrup: Soak 1/4 cup of dried hibiscus in 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and let it steep for 30-45 minutes. Strain out the dried flowers and add 1 1/2 cups sugar (or equal to how much liquid you have). If the tea is warm enough, the sugar should dissolve on its own after a few minutes. If not, transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and heat it gently, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a lidded jar and store chilled. You don't need to wait for the syrup to be chilled before making the drinks.
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