The Sugar Free Hibiscus Simple Syrup is certainly a specialty reagent that requires some of the skills that should have been honed by some of our previous anecdotes and recipes. Fortunately, though, once you have all the reagents required, making it is pretty simple!
The Sugar Free Hibiscus Simple Syrup can be a little challenging in a couple ways. Most notably, getting the hibiscus! Not all variations of the hibiscus flower are edible, and most of the wild/garden varieties are inedible. Some stores stock fresh edible hibiscus flowers, but not really in my part of the USA. When I made mine, I found dried hibiscus flowers at my local Nature’s Bin. I bet there are also other tea shops or organic food stores that sell the dried version, but be warned that it should be pure hibiscus, and not mixed with anything else at all.
I used the same weight of dried hibiscus as fresh since, which may have altered the flavor a little, but the flavor is subtle either way and, like grenadine, it is used just as much for coloring as for flavoring. You may also want some reusable tea bags. I found mine at the same store as my dried flowers. It just makes cleanup a bit easier.
Sugar Free Hibiscus Simple Syrup:
- 2.75 cups water*
- 2 cups Splenda
- 0.5 oz (by weight) Dried Hibiscus Flowers
Boil the water and add the splenda until it dissolves. This should be fairly quick since splenda naturally dissolves faster in water than sugar does. While the water is boiling, add the pre-weighed hibiscus to the bag, cinch it closed, then add the bag to the lightly boiling syrup. Stir occasionally for a total steep time of 10 minutes. Remove the bag, allow to cool, then pour into your favorite storage container.
The result should be a syrup with a beautiful blood-red coloring!
I also added one ounce of vodka to this to help retard contaminating bacteria and stored it in the refrigerator. This is, of course, is optional, but the MDR Labs would like to remind you that all reagents, either stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, are susceptible to fungal or bacterial contamination. Boiling reagents, then adding a little alcohol helps immensely with this, but it is not perfect, so please inspect your reagents if you go long periods between use.
*As a side-note, remember that the water displacement of splenda is different than sugar (discussed here), which is why there appears to be more water than should be necessary for a simple 1:1 syrup.