Cocktails, Collaboration, Food

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea


I don’t know what the weather has been like for you over these past few months, but here in North Carolina, it’s been a meteorological rollercoaster. If we could be done with that, that would be great. I’m longing for that brief but beautiful period between the frigid winter and soggy summer when we’re spoiled with a breezy 70-80 degrees. And I want to hold onto those days ever-so-tightly, because once the summer swaddles us with its hot and sticky hands, I’ll want to be done with that too.

Can’t win, won’t win.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a go-to summer thirst-quencher ready, chilled, and available in your fridge; one that also acts as a cure-all for those irritating days at work. (Despite working from home, I have those too.)

Though I’m known for my boozy sangrias, there’s a new punch in town; let’s just say that “tea time” has reached a brand new high 😉

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing ThymeThis ruby-hued Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea is part of the spring collaboration for #ConnectingOverCocktails. This is our third installment, and the collection of libations gets more and more exciting every time! For this installment, we decided to work around a floral theme to welcome spring. Because I’ve recently transitioned from being an I-need-a-coffee-IV-attached-to-my-arm type of person to a tea-all-day-every-day type, I wanted to boast my newfound appreciation. And there was no better way to do that than with my favorite tea folks over at Arbor Teas! *chest bump* I knew that their organic, sustainable, and fair trade petals would be pure perfection for this mélange, and after preparing a pitcher of this good stuff, I was beyond satisfied.

This brew is refreshing AF and gives off floral notes mixed with lemony bits and earthiness. The addition of fresh mint adds a soothing cooling effect.

(Oh, and did I mention the blueberry vodka?)

With some lemon simple syrup, sweetening is totally flexible, as it should be with tea. I drink my tea black in the morning, so I prefer my spiked tea to NOT taste like a candied fruit drink; you could even skip sweetening altogether.

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing Thyme

I’ve had hibiscus tea from a regular ol’ tea bag before. Though it was good (using the term kind of loosely there), I thought the flavor fell flat for what it boasted itself to be on the side of the box. There was nothing tart, earthy, or floral about it. It was more like an unsweetened fruit juice.

A few days ago, I started my morning with a cup of Arbor Teas Organic Hibiscus before whipping up a batch of the cold stuff. At first sip, I was quick to realize what I’d been missing out on this whole time. Not only is this blend mouth-puckering, but it has an earthiness that is reminiscent of beets. BEETS! (I love beets.)

These pretty petals can be used to create an Agua de Jamaica (or Agua de Flor de Jamaica, or Rosa de Jamaica) in the comfort of your very own kitchen. In it’s simplest form, this Latin American drink brings an infusion of hibiscus flowers with lemon and sugar to your glass. That’s what inspired this drink. That, and my unruly urge to spike something with the godsend that is blueberry vodka.

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing Thyme

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing Thyme

To see more of what Arbor Teas has to offer, you can check out their Website. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.



Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea

This Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea is a refreshing floral blend of earthy tones, blueberry vodka, and lemony simple syrup. Serve with fresh mint sprigs to bring a cooling factor to those swigs!

Course Drinks
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 8
Author Killing Thyme


Iced Tea

  • 1/4 cup Arbor Teas Organic Hibiscus loose-leaf tea or 8 generic hibiscus tea bags
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup blueberry-infused vodka
  • 1/2 cup lemon simple syrup
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Lemon Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 lemons
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest avoid the pith


  • Edible flowers
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  • Lemon wedges


  • If using loose-leaf tea, you will want a T-sac see notes
  • heat-resistant glass pitcher
  • Sieve or cheesecloth


Lemon Simple Syrup

  1. Zest the lemon until you have a full TBSP, then juice the lemons until you have approx. 1/2 cup of freshly squeeze lemon juice.

  2. Combine the juice, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a light boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring often, approx. 10 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and add the lemon zest. Set aside to cool for ten minutes.

  4. Once cooled, run the syrup through a sieve or cheesecloth to get rid of the zest bits. Set aside.

Preparing the Tea

  1. Put your loose-leaf tea into a T-sac, and place it at the bottom of your heat-resistant pitcher.

  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boiling point of 212° F. (If you don't have a thermometer, you can estimate. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, you should be at your desired temp of 212° F.)

  3. Carefully pour the hot water into the pitcher over the tea-filled T-Sac, ensuring that the tea is covered with water completely. Steep for 7-10 minutes.

  4. Remove the T-sac from the pitcher.

  5. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the simple syrup to the tea, plus 4 cups of room temperature water. (You can adjust sweetness as you go). Stir well. Set any extra simple syrup aside.

  6. Allow the tea to cool on the counter, at room temp, for about 10 minutes.

  7. After that, add the vodka and stir well.

  8. Finally, add the ice, and place the pitcher in the refrigerator. (This allows the tea to cool gradually. Cooling your tea too quickly will result in a cloudy tea, but it doesn't affect the quality or taste. So, if you do want to quickly cool your tea and you end up with a cloudy tea, don't fret; sip away!)

  9. Prior to serving, you can rim some glasses with sugar (optional), fill them with ice, and toss in some fresh sprigs of mint. Pour in the iced tea, and garnish with lemon wedges; add edible flowers if you have them.

  10. See notes about extra sweetening.

Recipe Notes

  1. Prep time includes cooling time.
  2. You can purchase T-sacs on Arbor Teas Website here. For pitchers of iced tea, a 'Size 4' sac is recommended.
  3. Because tea drinkers all enjoy their tea differently, I find it helpful to have extra simple syrup available on the side in case anyone wants to add some extra sweetness to their glass. It's always better to sweeten your pitcher less; you can always add some sweetness, but you can't take it out once it's in there.
 BE SURE TO SIP ON WHAT MY PALS HAVE BEEN SLINGIN’: | Coastal Orange Blossom Gin Cocktail

My Kitchen Love | Rhubarb Pisco Sour

The Girl on Bloor | Cucumber Basil Gin Fizz

The Hesitant Chef | Hopped White Lady

Diversivore | Saffron Cava Cocktail

Mud on Her Boots | Lavender Orange Bees Knees

Un Assiago | Rose Julep

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing Thyme — this ruby-hued drink mixes blueberry vodka with hibiscus iced tea and a lemony simply syrup for a refreshing and not-too-sweet summer bev.

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  • Reply Blueberry Lemon Vodka Fizz - Killing Thyme July 28, 2017 at 9:37 am […] hot toddies; spring inspires us to revitalize and make use of floral notes (remember my Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea?); and summer has us quenching our thirst with refreshing mixes, like this effervescent Blueberry […]
  • Reply Pretty in Pistachio | Love List 6/7/17: Iced Tea Recipes | Pretty in Pistachio July 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm […] 6. Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea, Killing Thyme […]
  • Reply sugarlovespices March 28, 2017 at 7:33 am Hi Dana, you have done a wonderful job with the photographs in this post, so inviting and zen like. The tea just sings summer time, and I am already feeling the heat of that sun. This drink has some serious flavors, the hibiscus, blueberry vodka, and the lemon syrup, a perfect combination for freshness and that tartness that is so welcomed when the sun is at it's highest. Great Job on this one. P.S. I don't know what mother nature is up to but it has been a strange year for us too, oh well, I surrender, lol especially if I can just sit back, sip this amazing tea, and just watch as time stands still. Happy day to you Dana Cheer! Loreto
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:47 am Thank you so much, Loreto! I'm with you — this combination is cooling perfection on a hot summer day, and such days are flirting with us here in NC now! We had a few summer-y days back in February as well. It's bittersweet; it's wonderful to get a taste of the warmth that's around the corner, but sad to think about it being a result of global warming. Bah — a topic for a different day, over different drinks. Ha.
  • Reply Rebecca | Let's Eat Cake March 27, 2017 at 7:10 pm This is so pretty! I came across your blog via your Brit + Co column and I'm in love! That color!!!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:44 am Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to comment :) I fell in love with the color of these bad boys, too. That's all natural color — hibiscus is a beautiful thing!
  • Reply Dylan Cutler March 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm You sure photograph tea beautifully! I came here for inspiration and hope I absorbed some tips from your styling. :)
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:48 am Thanks, Dylan! I really appreciate the compliment. I peruse the internet often for inspo, though I never thought someone would look at me for it! <3
  • Reply Hilary from Cocoa Bean, The Vegetable March 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm Full disclosure here: I'm not a fan of cocktails. I mean, if a friend offers I'll say yes, but the farthest I'm willing to go with a mixed drink is a G&T. But I hadn't considered making a spiked ice tea like this. And the fact this is a HIBISCUS tea, which is amazing, just puts it right over the top. Alright, time to make this.
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:51 am I am actually totally with you, Hilary. Most cocktails are just too damn sweet. What I love about this one is that it gets treated like tea, and even having it unsweetened it nice. Though, I think it's psychological — when drinking a cocktail, you expect and therefor crave a bit of sweetness. But yeah, my go-to is actually a plain ol' vodka club if I'm not enjoying beer or wine.
  • Reply Justine @ March 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm DANA, girl -- these are out of this world beautiful! The imagery has such a luxe, velvety quality to it that really compliments the vibrant jewel tones of these cocktails. Woweeeee! I love hibiscus tea -- in fact, my first recipe (and very first blog post) included loose leaf hibiscus tea in a smoothie inspired by Agua de Jamaica I discovered while visiting Oaxaca. :) Arbor Teas has some really cool varieties on the menu and I'm so impressed by the diversity of recipes you've developed with them! This melange of earthy + lemony + floral sounds right up my alley. Plus, blueberry infused vodka?! Oh boy. I'm so happy that we can continue to collaborate and that our little Connecting Over Cocktails family keeps growing. Creative collabs make my heart so happy and I love seeing what you all come up with. Cheers to many more!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:54 am Oh Justine, you even write your comments all dreamy-like! I love you. Haha. Thank you SO much for the fab words. Goodness, I am totally going to look at that first recipe of yours! It sounds delish. And yes. Oh god yes. Blueberry vodka is my new favorite thing. When you crack the bottle open, it smells like summer mornings (because the blueberry aroma smells like muffins, not because I'm a raging alcoholic, lol). I'm already looking forward to our next collaboration! We'll have to get that conversation going for the sake of planning, and just overall being excited :) Thanks so much, my friend! Cheers <3
  • Reply dishnthekitchen March 25, 2017 at 11:52 am Deeeliicous! I love tea based cocktails and this one looks and sounds fabulous, especially paired with the blueberry vodka. I'm loving those perfect ice cubes too, it's the little details that make this post fabulous :)
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:56 am Thanks, Bernice! Despite the sweetness, I've always sort of enjoyed Arnold Palmers. It's one of those drinks where I can only have one, because holy sugar. But these gems? You can have several! That can be a good thing or a bad thing — depends how you look at it ;)
  • Reply diversivore March 24, 2017 at 11:23 pm Dude. Awesome drink. AWWWWWESOME. I sound like a bro here, and we're talking about spiked tea. I'm not sure what's happening. Anyway, it's a great combo (the blueberry vodka? GENIUS), and you're so right - nothing compares to using whole hibiscus (or in this case, an un-ground fresh hibiscus tea). I love it, and it's crazy easy to work with. And seriously, who can't get on board with a colour like that? Great recipe, great shots - great work!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 9:57 am Hahaha. Do you even lift, brah? Yeah, the difference between the bagged store-bought hibiscus and Arbor Teas quality loose-leaf hibiscus is night and day, I'm telling you. Thanks so much, Sean!
  • Reply Jen March 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm Hey, can I get Arbor Teas in Canada? I love tea...well, now that I'm mostly caffeine-free (the most painful transition. Ever. amiright!?!) I cannot get over those colours. It's like a punch in the face, but in a good way!! And you are so right about bland hibiscus letdowns. ;)
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:03 am You most certainly can! I know the shipping is different, but they will absolutely ship to Canada. It's probably also worth me mentioning that their prices are fab. I don't want to slam other companies, but there is another extremely popular loose-leaf tea company that everyone raves about, and for 4 oz of their "hibiscus" (it's a blend), you're paying $17.96. With Arbor Teas, you get 4.5 oz for $11.50 and it's straight up hibiscus. You can get other volumes, but that just goes to show you how crazy the difference is.
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  • Reply My Kitchen Love March 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm SO beautiful!! If this is what Spring is about count me in!! Hoping the weather improves here, much like there. Cheers to the weekend!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:04 am Thanks, Sam! I hope your weather phases into sunny and warm soon, too :)
  • Reply COASTAL ORANGE BLOSSOM GIN COCKTAIL - JustineCelina March 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm […] Dana at Killing Thyme’s Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea […]
  • Reply Rose Julep - Un Assaggio of Food, Wine, & Marriage March 24, 2017 at 1:40 pm […] Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea by Killing Thyme […]
  • Reply Heather March 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm Wow I could go for a glass of this! It looks incredible and your photos are amazing too!!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:04 am Thanks so much, Heather!
  • Reply MeaghanC March 24, 2017 at 11:56 am Yeess to spiked iced tea!! What a delightful way to welcome spring :)
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:05 am I'm with you!
  • Reply Koko Brill March 24, 2017 at 11:00 am This iced tea is a Friday DREAM. Talk about refreshing AF! I am swooning over this recipe and your stunning pictures!!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:06 am Thanks, Koko! I'm so ready to run out and get more blueberry vodka for this concoction — and it's only Tuesday ;)
  • Reply Shauna March 24, 2017 at 10:44 am Dana, these are so darn pretty! Beets? That's brilliant for the beautiful colour, not to mention the added health benefits. Definitely pinning these to try later. Enjoy your weekend :)
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:08 am Thanks, Shauna! The color actually comes straight from the hibiscus :) No beets were added, but I had to mention the beet-like aftertaste that hits your tastebuds after each sip. It just adds a lovely earthiness. Let me know if you give these a whirl! Hope you had a fab weekend :)
  • Reply Eyecandypopper March 24, 2017 at 10:33 am What?!!! OMG. I love love love this. The recipe sounds so refreshing, but your pictures are to die for. Gorgeous!!! Cocktails will have to wait a bit longer for us Canadians, but I hope to make this in the summer. Yummo!
    • Reply Killing Thyme March 28, 2017 at 10:09 am Thanks so much, Gabby! I hope you can hit up a warm patio with these gems soon! We're moving into April now, so at worst, only one or two more snowfalls for the North, right? (I remember, and I don't miss it. Haha.)

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