Goat Cheese and Hibiscus Tea
It’s so bleeping hot in Philadelphia that there is only one thing to do: invent new pairings for goat cheese and iced tea while listening to Kishi Bashi. On July 4, I did just that. Musically, Kishi Bashi is frisky chevre on a cracker, and visually, this spiked hibiscus tea made with Rhuby is A.C. in a glass. Rhuby, a spirit made with rhubarb and botanicals, is made in Philadelphia.
Here’s why this funny little pairing works: soft-ripened goat cheese is tart, which is why it needs a tart little number in the glass. In this case, hibiscus flowers, which produce a vitamin-C rich tea, offers a sour flourish that pairs perfectly with Leonora, a goat cheese I have often raved about shamelessly.
Leonora is from Spain, and it’s made by a father and daughter — need I go on? It looks like icebox cake, and it tastes like goat cheese frosting. Nobody who sees it can resist. Add an espresso-spoonful of fig jam and a few pistachios, and you have just made it into a canape.
Here’s to your next patio frolick:
Goat Cheese Canapes
1/2 pound Leonora (or aged goat cheese)
fig jam (I used Trader Joe’s Fig Butter)
Slice the baguette into half-inch rounds and toast them in your toaster oven or under your broiler. Top each round with goat cheese, fig jam, and a sprinkling of pistachios. If you don’t want to heat up the house, slice the baguette in half length-wise and throw it on the grill — then slather on the toppings, and cut it into wedges.
Note: If you can’t find fig jam, use rhubarb jam or dark honey.
Kishi Bashi Coolers
2 teabags of hibiscus tea (I used Tazo Passion)
32 ounces of water
4 shots of Rhuby (a rhubarb spirit)
4 drops of orange flower water
For the tea:
Cold-brew the tea in your fridge for 24 hours — all you do is place the tea bags into a pitcher, add 32 ounces of room temperature water, and let the whole shabang steap in your fridge for a day. If you’re in a rush to guzzle these, boil half the water (16 ounces), steap the tea bags in it for 15 minutes, then pour the hot tea over ice divided between 4 glasses.
For the cocktail:
Set out 4 tumblers. Fill each one with ice, hibiscus tea, a shot of Rhuby, and 1 drop of orange flower water. Stir.
Note: these are botanical drinks, not at all sweet. If you want sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of simple syrup or honey to each glass. Orange flower water is found in specialty stores; Moroccan restaurants often use it in sweets. It’s great to have around, but a little goes a lonnng way, so be easy, pony.