Mexicans love their 'aguas frescas' (which literally means fresh waters); they are teas or diluted juices from local fruits, sweetened with sugar and loaded with ice. They can be found everywhere: freshly made at homes, in restaurants, pre-made in the form of syrup or powder in the supermarkets and everywhere you go you'll see zillions of merchants with wooden carts on the streets selling truly appetizing, iced cold aguas frescas in big glass barrels that call you in under the scorching sun. Now, if you're a Mexican (and you want to preserve your intestinal flora and stomach lining) you know they're a big no-no to drink from the street vendors as you don't know where the water or ice comes from, if you're a tourist STEP AWAY FROM THE GLASS NOW and start praying.
Joking aside (and I'm not sure you should ignore the advise of not buying these on the streets) Aguas Frescas are incredibly delicious and they quench your thirst a lot better than anything else. There are loads of flavours: limonada (made of lime juice), naranjada (made of orange juice), agua de sandia (made with watermelon), agua de mango (made with mango juice), agua de melon (made with melon), agua de horchata (made with rice and cinnamon) and loads and loads of others, but my favourite by far is agua de jamaica, which is a tea made with dried hibiscus flowers.
Hibiscus flower tea has a lovely cranberry flavour to it, it has a lot of vitamin C and minerals. A lot of people believe it has medicinal qualities (just do a google search and see for yourself). Some believe it is good for losing weight (don't see how unless you skip the sugar in the recipe), but I believe that regardless of all this, it is delicious and that's why I love it! We always have a jar full of it in the fridge during the summer time. On hot days is incredibly tasty and I've been told that if you add some rum to it, it makes a great cocktail. Either way, it is incredibly easy to make and yummy. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Put the water and the flowers in a pot and turn the heat to high. Bring it to the boil, cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the ruby tea rest and cool in the pot. Once it's totally cold, sieve the tea to take out all the flowers.
Transfer to a jug, add the sugar and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Add loads of ice and garnish with some mint.
The tea keeps well in the fridge and it is really lovely on hot summer days.