I recently tried – and absolutely loved – Heritage Distilling’s Ginger Vodka. It made the most amazing Moscow Mule. So I was intrigued to try another of their infusions – the very different but equally distinctive taste of hibiscus.
The hibiscus vodka looks beautiful in the bottle, the pink color of a nice rosé wine. It made my wife and I think immediately of the South of France, and it was tempting to get out the wine glasses instead of the shot glasses. We resisted the temptation, though.
The vodka has a lovely sweet floral scent to it, definitely summery and not unlike some rosé wines. Tasting it, though, we both felt that floral sweetness was a little too overpowering. ‘It tastes too much like candy,’ my wife said. I like candy but I had to agree. It wasn’t an unpleasant taste at all, and I can imagine lots of people loving it, but it was just too sweet for us.
We felt it needed something to cut the sweetness, so I went looking online for hibiscus vodka recipes. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one on Heritage’s own website, but Google did find this for me:
Sorry, Heritage! The recipe was perfect, a simple 2:1 ratio of cranberry juice to hibiscus vodka, with a couple of lime wheels. We had limes! We had cranberry juice in the fridge! I made us two glasses and it was brilliant. The tartness of the cranberry juice and the sharpness of the lime cut that sweetness and it made a beautiful well-balanced cocktail. It passed the litmus test – when you finished it, did you want another? As it was 108 degrees where we live in Arizona, the answer was a resounding Yes.
Heritage’s Hibiscus Vodka is only 30% ABV so a couple of cocktails was still quite light on the alcohol. You could even mix it with another drink and it wouldn’t be too strong, something like Triple Sec – another Absolut cocktail blends it with apricot brandy, which sounds intriguing, but unfortunately we didn’t have any. Though maybe that was just as well or we might have been tempted to polish the bottle off.
While we found this hibiscus vodka a little too sweet for our own tastes, don’t be put off as it’s certainly a drink worth experimenting with. And that cranberry-hibiscus cocktail is definitely a keeper.
Heritage Distilling is based in the little city of Gig Harbor, about a 44-mile drive from Seattle. They make a range of infused vodkas, and do distillery tours too. They were 2014’s and 2015’s most awarded craft distillery in North America by the American Distilling Institute.