If you're ever in the mood for a pink drink, this Hibiscus Vodka Cocktail is a delicious one to whip up! It uses both hibiscus-infused vodka and raspberry syrup, as well as egg whites to create a beautiful pink foam on top of the drink. The hibiscus and lemon juice give it a tart and refreshing flavor.
I was inspired to create this recipe for Valentine's Day. I always think of egg white-foam cocktails as being really fancy, so it would be great as a signature drink for a wedding or other special occasion!
Another foam-topped drink that would be perfect for a Valentine celebration is this Raspberry Mocktail. It uses raspberry tea instead of alcohol, but you could also use hibiscus tea for a different flavor and use Hibiscus Syrup instead of the raspberry syrup.
The key ingredient in this cocktail is hibiscus vodka. Not only does it give a gorgeous color to the cocktail, but it also has its own uniquely tart flavor. I made a homemade vodka infusion with Maui hibiscus flowers but there are a few commercial options available too, one of which I’ve linked below.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Hibiscus vodka - preferably a homemade infusion (see How to Make Hibiscus Vodka) or store bought if you can find one.
- Lemon vodka - any kind of citrus vodka will work great in this drink.
- Raspberry syrup - either homemade or store bought. I used this raspberry syrup by Monin.
- Lemon juice - preferably fresh squeezed.
- Egg whites - preferably pasteurized. I use egg whites from a carton for my cocktails and it works perfectly to create a nice foam on top.
- Raspberry powder - (optional) - either blend freeze-dried raspberries into a powder, or purchase pre-powdered raspberries. It’s a nice touch to dust on top of the egg white foam, but completely optional.
How to Make Hibiscus Vodka
What you’ll need
It’s very easy to make hibiscus vodka at home. You’ll need some plain vodka, an airtight glass container like a mason jar, and dried hibiscus flowers. I used Maui hibiscus flowers, since they are whole flowers and easy to strain out, but you could use any type of dried hibiscus. To bottle it up, you’ll need a strainer, another container to catch the liquid, and a glass bottle to hold the finished infusion. You’ll also most likely need a funnel to transfer the infused liquid.
Start by adding the dried hibiscus flowers to your mason jar. Then, pour in the vodka so it entirely covers the flowers. Seal up the jar and let it sit at room temperature.
Depending on how long you let it sit, both the color and flavor of the vodka infusion will get stronger. For my own infusion, I let it sit for about 24 hours, but you can infuse it as little as 1 to 2 hours.
Hibiscus flowers have a very strong color. If you want a paler color, keep a close eye on it and shake it occasionally to see how the color is coming out.
Straining and bottling the infusion
After you’re happy with the flavor and color of the infusion, take your strainer and second container. Pour the infusion into the strainer so that the liquid drips through into the container and the flowers are caught in the strainer.
Then, put your funnel in the neck of the bottle that will hold your finished infusion. Carefully pour the liquid from the container into the funnel so it goes into the bottle. Then, just cork up your bottle, and store it like any other vodka.
If you don’t have some of the ingredients, here are some ways you can make substitutions to create a similar drink.
- Hibiscus vodka - as I mentioned before, this is a pretty key ingredient. However, if you can’t find a bottle of pre-made, or find dried hibiscus flowers to make an infusion, you can try to find a substitute. One thing you could use is a different flavored or infused vodka, like strawberry or cranberry, to give a tart flavor and a pink or red color. Another would be to substitute in some red fruit juice and increase the amount of lemon vodka you use.
- Lemon vodka - you could also use plain vodka, gin, or rum instead of lemon vodka.
- Raspberry syrup - instead of raspberry syrup, you can use plain simple syrup or maple syrup. Or, if you still want the raspberry flavor, you can use fresh raspberries and sugar. All you need to do is muddle about 5 to 7 fresh raspberries at the bottom of your cocktail shaker, and then add sugar or simple syrup. Raspberries already have some sweetness, so if you’re going to add plain sugar, add about 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of water per ounce of syrup you are substituting. If you’re adding simple syrup, add about ¾ of an ounce, or half an ounce of rich simple syrup (2 to 1 ratio of sugar to water).
- Lemon juice - if you don’t have fresh lemon juice, I recommend using TrueLemon crystallized lemon powder along with water. You can also use bottled lemon juice. It won’t taste as fresh, but you can use it in a pinch.
- Egg whites - you can substitute in an equal amount of aquafaba, which is the water from a can of chick peas, for a plant based option. Or, you could use a store bought cocktail foamer instead.
In order to make this drink, you'll need a jigger or measuring cup, a cocktail shaker and strainer (preferably both a regular strainer and a fine mesh strainer), and a serving glass. This works really well in a coupe glass, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
I've found this milk frother to be a huge help in making foam-topped cocktails. Especially if you have a hard time with a lot of shaking, it's a great little tool to have. It's inexpensive, and it foams up the mixture beautifully in seconds!
To make the cocktail, start out by measuring your lemon juice and adding it to the cocktail shaker. Next, add in the lemon vodka.
Then, add the hibiscus infusion and raspberry syrup.
Finally, add in your egg whites. At this point, you have a couple of options.
You can add ice and shake the mixture first with ice to chill the liquid, and then strain out the ice and shake it again without ice (called a "dry shake") to build the foam layer. Alternatively, you can do the dry shake first, then add ice and shake again before straining it into the glass.
If you're using a milk foamer, I suggest doing the shake with ice first, then straining it out and then hit the mixture with the foamer. I did it the opposite way in these pictures, but I've since found that foaming it after the ice shake will give you a richer foam.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the cocktail glass. The reason for using a fine mesh strainer is not only to catch any ice shards that might have been left, but it also breaks up any large bubbles, giving you an even bubble size for a really clean look.
Optionally, you can dust some raspberry powder on top of the cocktail foam before serving. This gives a really nice color and aroma to the top of the drink. Just keep in mind that the foam will start popping a lot more quickly once the powder is added.
Hint: you can put freeze dried raspberries in a blender to make the raspberry powder, or you can purchase pre-powdered raspberries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hibiscus has a tart and floral flavor. It has berry and red fruit notes to the flavor. If you are making your own hibiscus vodka, it will probably have a strong tart flavor and leave your mouth with a little bit of a dry, tannin-like feeling. Most commercial hibiscus vodkas and liqueurs will have a more subtle flavor and most likely some added sugar for a sweeter taste.
Red berry flavors go really well with hibiscus, and so does citrus. Honey and cinnamon also work really well with hibiscus and will warm up the tart flavor a little bit.
Try to use one or two large ice cubes for shaking the cocktail instead of lots of smaller ice cubes. If you use lots of small ice cubes, they tend to break up the foam and also hold onto the foam too much when you're straining out the cocktail. If you only have small cubes, shake the cocktail with ice first, and then without ice for a better result.
Hibiscus Vodka Cocktail with Raspberry Syrup
- 1 ounce lemon juice preferably freshly squeezed
- 1 ounce lemon vodka
- ½ ounce hibiscus vodka see Notes (1)
- 1 ounce raspberry syrup
- ¾ ounce egg whites see Notes (2)
- 1 teaspoon freeze-dried raspberry powder optional
- Add the lemon juice, lemon vodka, hibiscus vodka, raspberry syrup and egg whites to the cocktail shaker.
- Shake the mixture without ice, also known as a "dry shake", about 30 times to build up the egg white foam. (See Notes (3)) You can optionally use a milk frother for this step.
- Add ice to the cocktail shaker ("wet shake") and shake well, about 15-20 hard shakes.
- Using your regular cocktail strainer and a fine mesh strainer together, strain the liquid into your serving glass.
- Optionally garnish with a dusting of freeze-dried raspberry powder or a few whole freeze dried raspberries, and serve.
- There are some hibiscus vodkas available to purchase, but I suggest making your own infusion using vodka and dried hibiscus flowers. See this section for how to make it at home.
- Pasteurized egg whites from a carton work perfectly in this recipe. You can also use powdered egg whites, or a fresh egg white if you are comfortable using it without pasteurization.
- You can do your shaking in either order -- dry shake first, and then wet shake, or the opposite. I find that the "Reverse Dry Shake", where you shake with ice first, works better if you are shaking with lots of small ice cubes. If you are shaking with one large ice cube, you can do your dry shake first without worrying that the ice will break up your foam too much.