One of our regular lunchspots here in Toronto is Taqueria El Trompo in Kensington Market. Sometime between that original post, when we were ordering Ginger Ales with our tacos, and now we discovered the pleasures of Agua Fresca de Jamaica (or Jamaica Tea). Now before you run out and order something that sounds like the Caribbean nation, keep in mind that this is a Mexican drink so you've got to soften that J and pronounce each vowel individually. It sounds something like ha-ma-EE-ca. Jamaica is the Spanish word for hibiscus so, as you might expect, the beverage is an infusion of the dried petals of the hibiscus flower.
We pick ours up in bulk at one of the Latin food stores in Kensington, but variations of this beverage are so widely consumed around the globe that it should be pretty easy to find. Check your local health food store if you can't find it elsewhere. If you want a packaged variety, it will be labelled Flor de Jamaica.
This is a fantastic summer cooler! On its own it's very tart, and we're pretty partial to it that way. At El Trompo, though, it comes well sweetened- not as sweet as a soft drink, but enough that the sour edge is gone. We usually dissolve a little sugar into ours, but we find the tangy-ness helps make it a lot more refreshing on a hot summer day. We brew up enough to fill a two litre juice container & keep it on the door of the fridge. It has become a household staple. Here's a good recipe. (Although we'd suggest you start first with very little sweetener then add more to suit your personal taste)