Southern Tart: Bourbon and Hibiscus Cocktail

My favorite joke goes a little like this:

Four Southern belles are sitting on a front porch, sipping sweet tea.  The first belle says, “My daddy loves me so much he got me a new pony.”  Two of the belles say, “Oh, that is so wonderful,” and the fourth says, “Well, how niiiiice.”

The second belle says, “Well, my daddy loves me so much that he bought me a new car.”  Two of the belles say, “Oh my, what a nice man,” and the fourth says, “Well, how niiiiice.”

The third belle says, not to be outdone, “My daddy loves me so much that he bought me a new house!”  Two of the belles say, “Oh, how lovely!” and the fourth says, “Well, how niiiiice.”

There’s a silence, and the three belles look at the fourth.  “Well,” says the first, “What does your daddy do for you?”

The fourth belle says, “He sent me to charm school.”

“Charm school?” they ask.  “What’s so great about charm school?”

“Well,” the fourth belle says, “That’s where I learned to say ‘Well, how niiiiice,’ instead of, ‘Well, eeeffffffff you.'”

It is in this spirit that I bring to you The Southern Tart, a sweet/tart hibiscus and bourbon cocktail.  I recently received a box of goodies in the mail, including some Wild Hisbiscus Flowers in syrup and Heart-Tee hibiscus tea, and I knew immediately I needed to make a cocktail.  I’ve been on a bourbon kick for the last few, well, years, so with that in mind, I started brainstorming.

The hisbiscus flowers in syrup are a bit meaty, with a sweet, tart flavor.  They’re almost like a fruit-roll-up, texture-wise, and the flavor is hard to compare to anything else.  It’s not really floral — rather, almost citrusy.  They’re really interesting, and such a special, elegant treat.

This cocktail is a riff on the Kentucky Cousin, and frankly, I think it might be my favorite that I’ve ever come up with.  It’s not too sweet, with a very pronounced bite — the tea is incredibly tart — and given that I’ve used bourbon, I figured The Southern Tart was an appropriate name.  (This is after I pumped my friends for possible names — thanks, guys!)


Adapted from Food & Wine and the Kentucky Cousin cocktail

Makes 1 large cocktail or two small cocktail coupe-sized cocktails

  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 3 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 oz hibiscus syrup (from flowers in syrup)
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz cherry heering
  • 1 oz chilled, brewed hibiscus tea
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 1 hibiscus flower (from syrup) to garnish

Muddle the thyme, lemon slices, cherries, and hibiscus syrup in a shaker.  Add bourbon, cherry heering, hibiscus tea, lemon juice, and ice, and shake for at least 30 seconds (until shaker is quite cold and ingredients are frothy).  Garnish with the hibiscus flower on a toothpick and serve immediately.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these hibiscus tea and flower samples free from The Burrell Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


3 responses to “Southern Tart: Bourbon and Hibiscus Cocktail

  1. Oh, My, My…. I write to testify…
    Just had my FIRST Southern Tart and can tell everyone reading this…
    It definitely, won’t be my last…

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