December 13, 2012

proof whisky, Mele Kalikimaka, Vol. 113

Today, we are featuring a very beautiful and unique product – perfect for the holidays. These flowers would make any Christmas cocktail all the more special. Here’s a great one to start you off.

the mele kalikimaka 1 ½ oz proof whisky • 4 oz Ocean Spray White Cranberry juice • 1 wild hibiscus edible flower • 1 tbsp wild hibiscus syrup from the jar
Place proof whisky, Ocean Spray White Cranberry juice and wild hibiscus syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake. Place wild hibiscus flower in the bottom of a glass and strain cocktail into the glass. (note – these flowers are Australian, not Hawaiian)

HINT: Hibiscus flowers stand up better to the bubbles in carbonation, so if the flower does not stand up on its own, you can insert a maraschino cherry in the centre. They are also great to float in a Christmas punch bowl.

The Wild Hibiscus Flower Company is a small family owned & operated firm run by a passionate team in Sydney, Australia (not Hawaii). Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup are the original creation of Lee Etherington who invented the product 11 years ago in 1997. Wild Hibiscus Flowers are unique in all the world and are now sold in 30 countries across the globe through retailers as prestigious as Harvey Nichols in London, Citarella in New York & Galerie Lafayette in Paris.

Some of their other products include Hibiscus tea, and Hibiscus flowers in rose syrup. ( For more cocktail and food recipes.

The hibiscus flower’s raspberry & rhubard flavours lend themselves to many delicious sweet and savoury festive recipes. Here are a few, taken from the Wild Hibiscus Website:

1 Hibiscus Flower with Chèvre, Chive and Black Pepper makes 11 servings 1 jar (8.8oz) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup • 1 small (8-oz) roll of Chèvre (goat’s cheese) • Chives cut into two inch pieces • Fresh black pepper
Drain hibiscus flowers and set aside (reserve syrup for other applications like vinaigrettes or drizzling across pancakes) Pinch off small amounts of cheese to roll into 11 equal sized, neat round balls then gently push a ball of Chèvre into each reserved Wild Hibiscus Flower. Lay a cut chive piece across the top and then grind a sprinkle of fresh black pepper on top.

2 Hibiscus, Warm Brie & Almond Crostini makes 20 to 24 pieces 1 jar (250g) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup • 1 small (8-oz) wheel brie cheese • 20 to 24 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette (about 1 baguette) • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, Garnish: fresh thyme or snipped chives
Preheat oven to 450° F. Drain hibiscus flowers and reserve syrup. Cut each flower in
half. Cut the brie into 1/4-inch-thick slices sized to cover about three quarters of a baguette slice. Spread the almonds in a flat dish. Press the brie firmly onto the bread slices then, facedown, into the almonds. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the brie is soft, bread is crispy, and nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 to 6 minutes. Top each one with a piece of hibiscus and drizzle lightly with the reserved syrup* as desired. Garnish with herbs. Serve immediately. *To thicken the syrup, put it in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium  and cook until syrup is reduced by 1/3 or coats the back of a spoon. Syrup will thicken more as it cools.

3 Hibiscus Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Makes 4 to 6 starter servings 1 jar (250g) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup • 1 tsp. poppy seeds • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar • 3 Tbsp. olive oil • Salt and pepper • 6 cups mixed salad greens (about one 5-oz bag) • 1 large orange, peeled and diced
Drain hibiscus flowers and reserve syrup. Cut each flower in quarters, set aside. Combine the poppy seeds, mustard and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved syrup.* Whisk in the olive oil and season to taste.  Add the greens to the dressing and gently toss. Divide among plates and scatter with orange pieces and hibiscus flowers. Serve immediately. *Save remaining syrup to add to cocktails or lemonade.

4 Wild Hibiscus Cheesecake Makes 1 9-inch cheesecake • 1 jar (250g) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup Crust 1 cup graham cracker meal • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted • 2 Tbsp. superfine or baker's sugar Cake Layer • 1 cup sugar • 3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened • 3/4 cup reserved hibiscus syrup • 4 eggs • 1 cup sour cream • 3 Tbsp. flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain hibiscus flowers and reserve syrup. Cut each flower in quarters. For crust: Mix together graham crackers, butter and sugar, and pat into bottom of 9″ spring-form pan. For cake layer: Beat together sugar and cream cheese until fluffy, then mix in the reserved syrup. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream and flour until smooth. Pour into crust and bake in lower part of oven about 35 – 45 minutes or until the center is set but still slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; remove rim. To serve: Cut with a knife dipped in hot water. Scatter slices of cheesecake with hibiscus flowers. Store leftover cheesecake refrigerated. *If you don't have time to make cheesecake from scratch, then purchase a high-quality cheesecake and serve scattered with quartered hibiscus flowers and drizzled with the hibiscus syrup.


Visit us next week for our Canadiana Christmas Edition!

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: 3 degrees with rain
Sunday: 4 degrees with rain

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