Juneteenth Red Drink Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea

This post may contain affiliate partner links. View our privacy statement HERE.

Red, the primary color of Juneteenth, symbolizes the resilience and bloodshed of our ancestors before they gained freedom. We honor their strength and endurance with a celebratory spread of African-American soul food, especially red food recipes.

Red beverages, notably the Juneteenth red hibiscus drink, play a central role in the celebration. They symbolize strength and honor, embodying the spirit of the occasion. The cultural significance of the hibiscus drink goes beyond its flavor, representing freedom and heritage.

Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea

What is the red drink on Juneteenth?

Juneteenth traditions and celebrations often feature red food and drinks, echoing the spirit and sacrifices of our ancestors. This tradition, deeply rooted in West African culture and spirituality serves as a testament to our rich heritage. 

The red hibiscus drink stands out as the official Juneteenth heritage beverage, deeply intertwined with Juneteenth history. Its unique flavor and vibrant red color, reminiscent of the hibiscus flower’s African soil, make it a symbol of our shared heritage and the resilience of our ancestors. 

How To Make Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Red Sweet Tea

What is Southern hibiscus sweet tea?

Southern hibiscus sweet tea is made the same way as Black folks Southern sweet tea, except this tea is vibrant red and has a delicate floral aroma.

And like all Southern sweet teas, this one is more than just a thirst-quenching beverage – it symbolizes Southern hospitality and good company enjoyed throughout the deep South. It’s a warm invitation to share in our traditions and feel the comfort of our heritage.

Drinking sweet tea on a hot day is the epitome of comfort, and hibiscus iced tea is a great meal starter, too! Especially when served with fresh cookies

Hibiscus Sweet Tea

What you need to make red hibiscus sweet tea?

Hibiscus flowers are native to West Africa, and hibiscus tea (a red drink) is a popular drink still made there today. So, hibiscus tea has been part of Black culture since the beginning. It consists of boiling the main ingredient, African hibiscus flowers, to make a delicious organic drink.

Measurements for the recipe can be found in the printable recipe card below. 

  • Hibiscus tea bags – Hibiscus tea bags are accessible at most stores and are comprable to steeping dried or loose hibiscus flowers.
  • Cold water – Boil the tea in cold water because the flavor is slowly extracted for a better taste and smoother blend of tea.
  • Granulated sugar – This is optional if you’re not making Southern-style sweet tea!
  • Baking soda – Use a bit of baking soda to remove cloudiness in the tea, resulting in a perfectly clarified smooth drink.
Juneteenth Red Hibiscus Southern Sweet Tea

What does red hibiscus tea taste like?

Is hibiscus tea naturally sweet? It is, with a bright, refreshing taste! This tea has a slightly floral, tangy flavor with sweet notes.

How to make Juneteenth red drink

To prepare Juneteenth red hibiscus tea, you simply boil the main ingredient, whether it’s hibiscus tea bags or loose hibiscus flower tea. For a truly organic experience, you can use loose hibiscus flowers to create a delicious natural drink!

Step-by-step stovetop and Instant Pot instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  1. Cut the strings off the tea bags, taking care not to cut them open.
  2. Bring the cold water to a boil in a large pot.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, turn off the stove, and add the tea bags to the hot water.
  4. Let the tea bags steep, dunking them several times.
  5. Remove the tea bags from the water with a slotted spoon.
  6. Then, stir in the sugar and baking soda until dissolved completely.
  7. Pour the tea into a pitcher and chill for a few hours in the fridge.
  8. Pour the tea over a glass of ice, and optionally garnish with lemon slices or sprigs of fresh mint.
Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea Red Drink

Watch the video with key moments for how to steep red hibiscus tea.

Southern Hibiscus Red Sweet Tea

What to add to hibiscus sweet tea

Feel free to get creative and add chopped fruit, juice, sparkling water, honey, flavored fruit concentrate, or simple syrup to your Southern hibiscus sweet tea.

For example, you could make hibiscus pomegranate iced tea, strawberry hibiscus iced tea, or hibiscus peach iced tea.

Lemon juice or fresh lime juice are easy natural additives to add more tang to this sweet tea recipe.

A cinnamon stick is always a fun addition to any hot tea drink or when drinking hibiscus tea.

And suppose you steep organic dried hibiscus flowers or loose-leaf tea. In that case, you could combine the dried flower tea with watermelon juice poured over ice for a refreshing hibiscus agua fresca! Then garnish with hibiscus leaves.

Juneteenth Red Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea

How long does hibiscus tea last

You can prepare this recipe in advance and refrigerate it for the Juneteenth holiday. Once brewed, red hibiscus sweet tea can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Other red drinks for Juneteenth

Along with the official drink red hibiscus tea, traditional Juneteenth beverages typically include homemade red craft sodas, store-bought red sodas, and red Kool-Aid.

Juneteenth Red Drink - Red Soda Water
Juneteenth Red Soda Water
Choosing red soda water as an alternative to the traditional hibiscus drink for Juneteenth brings practical benefits because of the ingredients' widespread availability.
Check out this recipe!
Juneteenth Watermelon Red Soda Recipe
Juneteenth Watermelon Red Soda
This is a quick and easy-to-make watermelon red soda recipe for Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!

What to serve with red hibiscus sweet tea

For more Juneteenth stories and food ideas, check out the illustrated book Juneteenth Is, which includes red food recipe source acknowledgments to me, Shaunda Necole & The Soul Food Pot!

Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad
Southern Tomato Watermelon Salad
Add to your Juneteenth menu this delicious, tangy, and sweet tomato watermelon salad recipe!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food BBQ Ribs Recipe
Soul Food BBQ Ribs
Soul food BBQ ribs are an all-time favorite main dish for Black celebrations and Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Southern Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake is considered the soul food of the South! It's also a red food favorite for Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!
Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea

Juneteenth Red Drink Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea

What is the official drink of Juneteenth?
Southern hibiscus sweet tea. It's a delicious red drink, and hibiscus flowers are native to West Africa. So, hibiscus tea has been part of Black culture since the beginning!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 20 cups
Calories: 116kcal

Equipment

  • Large 8 quart pot
  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (optional)
  • Slotted spoon

Ingredients

  • 4 tea bags hibiscus teabags – 4 large (family-size) or 8 small
  • 5 quarts water cold
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

Stovetop Instructions

  • Cut the strings off the tea bags, taking care not to cut them open, as you don't want dried hibiscus flowers floating around in your tea, and set the tea bags aside
  • Then, bring the cold water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, turn off the stove, add the tea bags to the hot water, and steep for 15 minutes, dunking the tea bags several times.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar and baking soda until dissolved completely.
  • Pour the tea into a pitcher, and for iced tea, allow the tea to chill for a few hours in the fridge.
  • Once chilled, pour the hibiscus sweet tea over a glass of ice, and optionally garnish with lemon slices or sprigs of fresh mint. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Cut the strings off the tea bags. (Careful not to cut the hibiscus tea bag because you don’t want dried hibiscus flowers floating around in your tea!)
  • Open the Instant Pot lid and pour the water into the stainless steel inner pot. (Or, if using the stovetop, add all the ingredients to a large pot, steep/soak the tea bags in the boiling water for 30 minutes, and move on to step 8.)
  • Then stir in the sugar and baking soda and add the tea bags.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for 15 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Using oven mitts, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot burner.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags from the pot.
  • Pour the tea into a pitcher, and for iced tea, allow the tea to chill for a few hours in the fridge.
  • Once chilled, pour the tea over a glass of ice, and optionally garnish with lemon slices or sprigs of fresh mint. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 30g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.

Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest “Soul Food Recipes” board!

Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea Recipe
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!
4.75 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Captcha loading...

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    When I’m thinking about Hibiscus I see my plant, LOL. But I never would have thought that they could make it into tea in another part of the world. This is definitely a must try.