Summer Cocktail Series: Vanilla Bean Hibiscus Cooler Recipe

Friends have been getting together at cocktail parties for a long, long time, so just about everyone welcomes a new twist. How about leaving the juice, syrups and flavorings in the cupboard and passing a tray of your very own, homemade Vanilla Bean Hibiscus Coolers.  We learned how from food stylist George Dolese who created this recipe for a recent shoot.


Vanilla Bean Hibiscus Cooler

Serves 4


½ cup dried hibiscus flowers

2 vanilla beans

½ cup vanilla bean syrup 

2 limes, thinly sliced

fresh mint leaves

4 split vanilla beans for garnish

tequila, mescal or rum (optional)


Place the dried hibiscus flowers in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the flowers. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a glass pitcher and sweeten to taste with the vanilla bean syrup. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. Serve over ice, garnished with a few lime slices, mint leaves and a vanilla bean. If desired, spike with a shot of tequila, mescal, or rum.



Vanilla Bean Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 vanilla beans


Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan. Split the vanilla beans down the center and scrape out the black seeds with the tip of a sharp knife. Add the seeds and pods to the saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved completely and mixture has come to a boil, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before pouring into a sealable glass container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Courtesy of George Dolese