Hibiscus Snow Cones Are The Perfect Treat To Cool Down With On Juneteenth

Close-up of several styrofoam cups of shaved ice with red syrup and spoons
Close-up of several styrofoam cups of shaved ice with red syrup and spoons - RoongsaK/Shutterstock

Juneteenth marks an important point in the history of civil rights in the United States, honoring the delayed yet joyous emancipation of slaves in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth is a cultural and historical holiday that also coincides with the first days of sizzling summer heat. Consequently, Juneteenth celebrations feature an array of refreshing libations and dishes to help you beat the heat. Watermelon and fruit punch are both sweet summer favorites that pair well with the celebrations, but hibiscus snow cones are the perfect treat to cool down with this Juneteenth.

Hibiscus is a popular infusion for teas and agua fresca de Jamaica both in the South, as well as in many African and Afro-Caribbean cuisines. It has a bright, tart flavor and a deep crimson hue that'll fit right into the importance of the color red as a key signifier for Juneteenth's message of joy and resilience. You can use store bought hibiscus syrup to drizzle over shaved ice for a cooling, bright red treat that's equal parts tart and sweet. Or, for a more natural approach, you can use dried hibiscus flowers to make a simple syrup.

To do this, simply boil the hibiscus flowers and 1 or 2 cups of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens. If you want, you can also add lemon juice and vanilla flavoring. Then, extract the flower pieces and let it cool before using the syrup on your snow cone. While shaved ice machines and stand mixers with shaved ice fixtures are helpful, you can also make shaved ice at home without any fancy machinery. Finally, garnish your snow cones with tasty add-ons such as whipped cream or pink peppercorns, or just serve them plain.

Read more: 23 Best Ice Cream Brands Ranked

Pair Your Snow Cones With These Traditional Juneteenth Dishes

Plated strawberry cheesecake next to bowls of cherries and strawberries served with small Juneteenth flags
Plated strawberry cheesecake next to bowls of cherries and strawberries served with small Juneteenth flags - Elena Dy/Getty Images

Since Juneteenth is a celebration of Black history and culture, dishes served on the holiday are a blend of Southern soul food and West African staples. Biscuits, collard greens, corn bread, and pork chops are Southern classics, while jollof rice and smashed yam patties are common West African dishes served at Juneteenth feasts. Even more poignant are the slew of red-colored foods and drinks, including red velvet cake, watermelon, strawberry pie, strawberry soda, and barbecued meats smothered in a red barbecue sauce.

The most iconic red food on Juneteenth is red drink, which is essentially sweetened hibiscus tea. It goes by different names depending on the country in question; in Afro-Caribbean nations, it's called sorrel, in Brazil, it's known as vinagreira, and in Africa, rosella. New traditions have transformed red drink into a sugary fruit punch, swapping hibiscus for an equally tart cranberry juice to pair with ginger ale, pineapple juices, and citrus. Some people also opt for store-bought red drinks like Kool-Aid fruit punch or Big Red soda.

Still other iterations of red drink include cocktails that spike hibiscus sweet tea with bourbon, whiskey, or rum. If you make hibiscus tea or snow cone syrup from hibiscus flowers, you can reuse the soaked flowers by mixing them into cocktails or stir-frying them with garlic, onions, and chilies. Hibiscus flowers have a meaty chew and a tangy, rich flavor, not to mention that they impart a deep crimson hue that upholds the significant red theme of the foods and drinks on your Juneteenth table.

Read the original article on Tasting Table