In my quest for the perfect thirst quencher, I think I’ve found “The One”: Nai’s hibiscus flower tea with pomegranate and rose water. And given its sell-out at the recent Ataya exhibition in Abu Dhabi, I’m predicting local tastemakers will be serving it as their iftar drink of choice this Ramadan (move over, Vimto).
It’s got the most beautifully subtle flavours, with natural ingredients that include Egyptian hibiscus flower, and only slightly sweetened. I love it chilled, but you can also serve it hot.
Made by a regional company, with bases in Jeddah and Dubai, the tea is brewed in big kettles with real tea leaves (unlike some other bottled iced teas that use extract or flavouring). Sweetened with honey and evaporated cane juice, it contains 30 per cent less sugar than a lot of other iced teas (and only 68 calories a serving, if you care about that sort of thing). It’s bottled in California, but only because Nai couldn’t find a plant here that could produce a drink with those standards.
Nai has two other flavours that I also really like: a pekoe black tea with lemon, mint and orange blossom, and a white peony tea with peach, mango and jasmine. They come in stylishly designed, colourful bottles that you won’t be shy to display if you’re hosting.
In August, Nai plans to introduce a line of snack bars also featuring flavours of the region: chocolate halawa rose, mohalabiya apricot pistachio and date fig raisin sesame.
But for now I'm perfectly happy with my hibiscus iced tea. In the UAE, you can find it at places like Right Bite on the Go and Sushi Counter (and soon to be at Nolu's): for more information, go to www.naiarabia.com follow Nai on Instagram @naiconnect. email@example.com