Spice it Up: Hibiscus tea | PostIndependent.com

Spice it Up: Hibiscus tea

We all look forward to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, where we can taste the best wines and the perfect bites by world-renowned chefs, but it's sold out. It's always sold out, but it also costs an arm and a leg to attend.

I've been creating festivals for the locals for years now, and nothing has changed this year. Act fast — as we get closer to the big event, these tickets are less and less available.

Let's talk about Sparklers and Spice first. This event, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on June 20 at the Prospector in Aspen, will feature five different Segura Viuda sparkling wines, and two of them will also be made into cocktails for our guests. While you are tasting and enjoying the views, your senses will be sparkling, too. I'm preparing a seafood paella my way: chicken, Spanish chorizo, jalapeños, assorted seafood, saffron and Israeli cous cous. Not only will you be drooling over the smell, but we will satisfy your taste buds with some bites beforehand. Purchase your ticket at http://www.sparklersandspiceaspen.eventbrite.com for only $25.

The evening will be closed by A Taste of Mexico, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. the same day and location, featuring Titanium tequila. You all know that I'm going to be sharing some spice and old recipes to try all night under the stars. I shared my father's carnitas recipe last month with you. If you haven't had the chance to make them or don't want to deal with it, just come join us and see me making it for you. We will be having assorted margaritas that I've created with Titanium, and did I mention we will also have salsa music to shake our hips to? It's a party, and this one also benefits English in Action. I've managed to do it again. Join me for a night under the stars by purchasing your $25 ticket at http://www.tasteofmexicoaspen.eventbrite.com.

Now, something to try at home while you wait for these great events: hibiscus tea.

If you have never used hibiscus flowers to make tea, this is a great time to do it. You can find it at Theresa's Market on Main Street in Carbondale. It's very affordable, and your bag will last you a long time (unless you get addicted).

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HIBISCUS TEA

1/4 cup of dried hibiscus flowers

3 cups of water

Place them in a pitcher and let it sit at room temperature for at least two hours. You can sweeten it with agave or honey, but remember you want to taste the floral and tangy flower itself.

HIBISCUS CITRUS MARGARITA

Makes four 1-cup portions

16 ice cubes

4 ounces Titanium Silver tequila

2 splashes of bitters

1 cup hibiscus tea

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon agave

1 cup Segura Viudas Brut

Add all ingredients except for brut into a shaker.

Shake 10 times so it gets really chilled, then pour into your desired glassware.

Pour 1/4 cup brut on top and stir twice. Allow the hibiscus flowers to float for garnish.

Susie Jimenez was the runner-up from season 7 of "Food Network Star" and owns a catering company in the Roaring Fork Valley. Her recipes appear every first Friday in Scene. She can be reached at susiespiceitup@gmail.com or 970-948-4096.

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