Rhubarb Hibiscus Pink Lemonade
June 7, 2022
It’s true, the color is all natural, thanks to the colorful petals of hibiscus tea and bold rhubarb stalks. This pink lemonade combines these flavors with the classic lemon and sugar to upgrade a favorite summer drink!
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Once we decide it’s lemonade season, that’s pretty much all we drink in this house (until apple cider season). When you are constantly making batches of lemonade, it can be fun to change it up with some fun flavors, like the fresh rhubarb that’s in season right now.
Rhubarb is just the beginning of a long line of fresh fruits and veggies we’ll be getting, so it’s worth celebrating its arrival. This lemonade highlights the bold color and tartness of rhubarb by pairing it with hibiscus tea, made from the dried petals of the fruity flower, and of course lemon juice and zest.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this rhubarb hibiscus pink lemonade at your grocery store:
- Produce: Rhubarb, Lemons
- Pantry: Sugar, Hibiscus tea
- Equipment: Zester, Saucepan, Mesh strainer, Citrus juicer
How to Make Rhubarb Hibiscus Syrup
I’m that weirdo who always makes lemonade by starting with a lemon zest-infused simple syrup. So adding more flavors into the syrup was a natural progression. First, if you haven’t tried making lemonade that way, I highly suggest it. But even moreso, I suggest trying this version infused with rhubarb and hibiscus tea as well.
It all comes together pretty easily, so you’ll be sipping this sweet nectar before you know it. But first, you need to prep your ingredients. Start by zesting a lemon; you may end up needing more than one, but I usually find that one standard-sized lemon does the job. Then slice up the rhubarb into quarter- to half-inch pieces.
When it comes to choosing your tea, the strongest hibiscus flavor will come from natural herbal tea that contains only hibiscus flowers as the ingredient. However, many brands make hibiscus-based blends that will still be absolutely delicious here.
If you can’t find pure hibiscus, try a blend that combines it with rose hips, orange peel, and/or sweet berries. I used Wegmans brand.
To begin making the syrup, combine the sugar, water, and lemon zest together in a medium saucepan. Begin cooking these over medium heat, while stirring to dissolve the sugar. The lemon zest won’t dissolve fully, but you should lose any grittiness in the mixture from the sugar.
At that point, increase the heat to bring the syrup up to a boil. You don’t need to hold it at a boil at all, just get it up to temperature. So once it’s fully rolling and bubbling, turn off the heat.
Add the rhubarb and hibiscus tea bags into the pot and stir to combine it all together. You’ll start seeing the color from the tea bags pretty quickly. I like to cut the strings of my tea bags when infusing for a long time like this, but feel free to leave them on, hanging over the edge of the pot.
Cover the pot with a well-fitting lid, and let all the flavors infuse together for about forty-five minutes to an hour. It will still be quite warm after this, so handle it carefully, giving the syrup one final stir.
Then, pour it all through a large, fine mesh strainer, to remove the rhubarb, tea bags, and any large pieces of lemon zest that are still in tact.
Discard the tea bags, but don’t toss out those rhubarb pieces. They can make a yummy snack! Leftover infused rhubarb can be eaten just as they are. You can also roll them in sugar and dry them out in a dehydrator or by using the lowest setting on your oven. They will likely not dry completely, so store them in the fridge if you don’t eat them all.
If needed, the rhubarb hibiscus syrup can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days. However, I suggest making the lemonade at the same time, since you will already have a zested lemon ready to be juiced.
Let’s Make Rhubarb Hibiscus Pink Lemonade
Speaking of juicing lemons, that’s your next step. I like to do this while the syrup is infusing, just to save a little time. When picking out lemons, you want them to be firm with just a slight give, and feel somewhat heavy in your hand.
I find that four lemons usually gives me right around a cup of juice, especially if one or more of them have been zested. While you don’t need any extra zest for this recipe, that motion of using the microplane zester (or simply rolling the lemons on the counter with some good pressure) will help you get more juice out of them.
Another trick is to use a citrus reamer or juicer. I don’t suggest using a handheld citrus press when trying to maximize juice, as they don’t do quite as good of a job of cleaning out the lemon as a reamer. However, always buy an extra lemon, just in case.
Combine this freshly squeezed juice along with all of the strained syrup and plenty of water in a large pitcher. Stir to combine it all together. I like to use a wooden or silicone spoon to do the stirring here.
Give the lemonade a taste, and add more lemon juice, water, or sugar as desired. I find that the recipe as written makes a pretty strong lemonade, but every lemon is different, so it’s always a good idea to taste and balance.
If you are serving your lemonade immediately, fill some tall glasses with ice to help cool it down just a bit. Or if you’re able to be patient (somehow), place the entire pitcher in the fridge until it’s chilled. This can take a couple hours.
Add a straw, and then a little garnish for some extra fun. I decided to pick up some edible flowers, but you can also use a simple lemon wedge or a twist of lemon peel. You could even add some of those rhubarb pieces back into the lemonade to give it a sangria feel!
If you are using flowers to accentuate the hibiscus in this lemonade, be sure they are safe for culinary uses. Many flowers can be harmful to even touch food, depending on how they are grown or treated.
If you have any left over, the finished lemonade can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days. Once it’s cold, there’s no need to add ice to the glass when serving, unless you want to.
I don’t suggest storing the full pitcher of lemonade or individual glasses with ice for a long period of time. The ice will melt in the fridge and dilute the lemonade.
It’s lemonade season! This summer, try a fun and naturally pink lemonade, infused with rhubarb and hibiscus tea.
How to Serve Rhubarb Hibiscus Pink Lemonade
When it’s warm and you’re looking for something refreshing, reach for this pink lemonade. But don’t limit yourself, serve it with everything all summer! The sweet and tart flavors here complement so many other summer treats, like a mandarin orange posset tart.
If you’re planning on serving this lemonade with a summery brunch, try making it a three-course meal: Start with some strawberry rhubarb crumble. Then serve a main course of tomato and avocado omelets. Finally, end the meal with some lemon and lavender cupcakes.
Or enjoy it as a zero-proof option for happy hour. Bite-sized appetizers like kiwi and curry deviled eggs and spiced apricot ricotta toast are the perfect companions. If you’d like a little buzz, try adding a shot of vodka or a citrus-forward gin to your glass!
More Recipes With Rhubarb or Lemons
Rhubarb Hibiscus Pink Lemonade
Rhubarb Hibiscus Syrup
- 1 ½ Cups Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest about 1 lemon
- 1 ¼ Cups Rhubarb sliced
- 2 Hibiscus Tea Bags
- Rhubarb Hibiscus Syrup
- 1 Cup Lemon juice about 4-5 lemons
- 6 Cups Water
Rhubarb Hibiscus Syrup
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and lemon zest, and begin cooking over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and then increase the heat to bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn off heat. Stir in the rhubarb and hibiscus tea bags. Cover and let infuse for 45 minutes to an hour.
- After infusing, pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and discard the tea bags (you can snack on the rhubarb pieces, see note).
Rhubarb Hibiscus Pink Lemonade
- Combine all of the strained syrup with lemon juice and water in a large pitcher and stir to combine. Taste, and if needed add more water, lemon juice, or sugar.
- Serve immediately over ice or place the pitcher in the fridge until chilled (a couple hours). Garnish with edible flowers, a lemon wedge, or a twist.
- Hibiscus tea: The strongest hibiscus flavor will come from natural herbal tea that contains only hibiscus flowers as the ingredient, but many brands make hibiscus-based blends that will still be absolutely delicious here. If you can't find pure hibiscus, try a blend that combines it with rose hips, orange peel, and/or sweet berries. I used Wegmans brand.
- Make ahead tips:
- The rhubarb hibiscus syrup can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- The finished lemonade can be stored, covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Do not store with ice.
- Leftover infused rhubarb after making them syrup can be eaten as a sweet snack. You can also roll them in sugar and dry them out in a dehydrator or by using the lowest setting on your oven. They will likely not dry completely, so store in the fridge for 1-2 days.