This homemade, tangy, refreshing sparkling zobo drink with ginger and cloves is excellent for cooling off on a hot day or as a non-alcoholic drink for your next party. The bright red colour of the drink looks attractive in a glass which kids love; it is a healthy option for them too.
Sparkling zobo drink is delicious, easy to make and a healthy alternative to store-bought sparkling drinks, which are full of artificial colours and preservatives.
What Is Zobo Drink Made From?
Nigerian Zobo drink is made by steeping what we call “zobo leaf” in hot liquid. In fact, this “zobo leaf” is not a leaf nor a flower. Instead, it is the dried calyx of a variety of hibiscus known as Hibiscus Sabdariffa. The calyces are the outermost part of a flower which looks like small leaves, hence why hibiscus calyces are mistaken for leaves.
This floral and tart extract from the zobo calyces is also known as sobolo and bissap across Africa.
Health Benefits of Zobo Drink
Aside from being a good substitute for artificial drinks full of sugars and chemicals, Zobo has a lot of health benefits.
Like most red and purple food, it is rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect which is linked to the prevention of illnesses.
Research has shown that hibiscus drinks could lower blood pressure and may help with blood sugar. It may also help lower blood fat and improve fatty liver disease.
Drinking zobo excessively should be avoided as it has the potential to interact with some medications. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also advised not to drink zobo.
How To Make Sparkling Zobo Drink
Here are the ingredients you need for this zobo recipe...
- Dried hibiscus calyces
- Sparkling water
A few notes about the ingredients...
- Sparkling Water: If you don’t like the taste of the carbonated drink, substitute the sparkling water with regular table water.
- Sweetener: You can substitute sugar with other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. You can also add sweet fruits like pineapples and dates for some sweetness. To use dates, you’ll need to remove the pit, soak it for a while, and blend before adding to the zobo drink.
- Spices: Aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, grain of selim, etc., also pair with zobo drink well. Feel free to add your favourite spices.
- Ginger: You can substitute fresh ginger with dried ones in this Nigerian hibiscus drink recipe.
How To Make It...
Wash the zobo leaves in cold water inside a big bowl. Change the water a few times to clean thoroughly. Don’t be too concerned if some of the colour leaches; there’s a lot more where that came from.
Wash the limes and ginger. Slice the limes and keep aside.
Slice the ginger roots thinly.
Add the sliced ginger into a pan with the washed zobo leaves and the cloves. Pour in 4 cups water and allow to roll boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 20 mins, then remove from heat.
Mix in the sugar, cover the pan and leave the zobo to cool before straining in a colander.
Pour the liquid into a jug and add the sparkling water. The quantity of water depends on how light you want the zobo drink to be. Add some lime slices. Add more sugar if required.
Serve with ice cubes.
Recipe FAQ And Notes
Preparing the concentrated zobo drink ahead makes sense as you have to wait for it to cool. Preserve zobo by storing it in the fridge; it will keep for a few days. Then, add the lime and carbonated water when ready to drink it.
How thick zobo is depends on how much water you allow the calyces to steep in. Suppose you want to make a concentrate to keep in the fridge. One cup of hibiscus calyces to two cups of water will make a highly concentrated liquid, which you can dilute later.
The hibiscus calyces are sold in Asian and African shops. You can also buy on Amazon.
This recipe is to inspire you. Once you have the concentrated zobo drink, you can play with different recipes. For example, add your favourite fruit or drink to make a non-alcoholic cocktail. Or dilute with hot or cold water and honey for a simple, refreshing drink.
You must try this warming spiced zobo drink, which is great on cold winter days.
Refreshing Sparkling Zobo Drink
- 1 cup Dried hibiscus calyces
- ½ cup Sugar
- 3 cm Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Cloves
- 2 Limes
- Sparkling water
- Wash the zobo leaves in cold water in a big bowl. Change the water a few times to clean thoroughly.
- Wash the lime and ginger. Slice both thinly.
- Add the sliced ginger into a pan with the washed zobo leaves and the cloves. Pour in 4 cups water and allow to roll boil.Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 20 mins, then remove from heat.
- Mix in the sugar, cover the pan and leave the zobo to cool before straining in a colander.
- Pour the liquid into a jug and add the sparkling water. The quantity of water depends on how light you want the zobo drink to be. Add some lime slices. Add more sugar if required.
- Serve with ice cubes.
What is sparkling water and where can it be gotten?
Hi Andrew. Sparkling water is same as carbonated water, which is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure to make it bubbly. It is also called soda water and should be available in the bigger shops.