A Cordial Affair

A cordial was once rather different to how we know it today. It was a medicine with an alcoholic base, made in Italian apothecaries in the 15th and 16th centuries, containing herbs and spices and other beneficial ingredients.

These cordials arrived in Britain in the 15th century and were taken to invigorate and revitalise the body, particularly the heart ('cor' being the latin word for heart)

By the 18th century, they were drunk rather more recreationally and over time became known as liqueurs.

The officers of the East India Company themselves brought home stories of exotic drinks. One such recipe was Paanch, meaning ‘five’ in Hindi, comprising five simple ingredients: water, sugar, fruit, tea and alcohol. It became what we now know as punch.


Hibiscus Cordial 25cl

Fragrant and vibrantly-coloured, our Hibiscus Cordial is packed with the exotic Hawaiian hibiscus, poppy and rose. Created for use in cocktails, spritzers, dessert sauces, fruit salads and pancakes.

The East India Company - Lifestyle

Food and Beverages

With a natural vibrant colour, our Hibiscus Cordial is a critical ingredient on lots of occasions. Refreshing and hydrating when added with ice to sparkling water - to 200ml water, add one teaspoon, or more if you prefer a little extra sweetness.

It's a great enhancement to an iced tea and it's an ingredient that we use in some of our tea-based cocktails too - see our recipe for a summer cocktail and below our short story about how Iced Tea was born in the US.

If you enjoy Hibiscus, why not try our Tropical Punch Infusion, in large pyramid teabags. Very tasty and refreshing when served cold with carbonated water – a touch of our Hibiscus syrup adds an extra indulgence.
We create our Hibiscus syrup starting from an infusion of Hawaiian red hibiscus flowers.

The flowers are distinctively large trumpet shaped and they bloom and drop repeatedly through the blooming season.

Hibiscus is a common component in fruit and herbal infusions, providing both a vibrant natural red colour and a high level of acidity that helps to give a structure to the infusion. It’s acidic because it contains lots of different natural acids and it’s also rich in iron, vitamin B and calcium.
EIC - Recipe Book - Exotic Blend 68 White Tea with Hibiscus Cordial

Serves 4

Place 8 heaped teaspoons of Blend 68 White Tea into a saucepan with 1 litre of fresh just-boiled water and infuse for about 4 or 5 minutes.

Strain through a sieve into a heatproof bowl, leave to cool.

Tip into a jug and add a handful of ice, along with 6-8 tablespoons of Hibiscus Cordial Stir well, taste and adjust accordingly

For an extra fizz, add in a bottle of Champagne and pour into chilled flutes prepared with a glace cherry at the bottom of the glass. Finish with a few drops of lemon juice and a curl of lemon rind to garnish.


Cane Sugar, Water, Herbal Tea (Water, Hibiscus Flowers (0.7%), Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid.


Made in factory that handles nuts, sesame, mustards, gluten, milk, eggs, soya and sulphites.
May contain traces of these allergens.


Typical values 100g – Energy 1549kj/370kcal | Fat 0g, of which saturates 0g | Carbohydrate 93g, of which sugars 92g | Protein 0g | Salt 0.01g


Store in a cool place after opening.

Suitable for vegetarians.


The Story of Iced Tea

The majority of iced tea today is a poor relative of the original, which dates back to the 19th century, being akin to sugary, flavoured water.

The oldest iced tea recipes were made with green tea and were known as 'punches' such as Regent’s punch, named after George IV or the Prince Regent 1762-1830. It was very aristocratic and highly alcoholic.

The punch became known in America, but was a novelty until the 1904 World Fair in St Louis [home also to the Olympic Games in the same year]. The very hot crowds were served with very hot Indian tea. It was the India Tea Commissioner, Richard Blenchynden and his team, who realised something cooler was in order. They filled some large bottles with the hot tea and let it flow through some iced lead [!] pipes. The resulting 'iced' tea, was a huge success, later replicated by Blenchynden for shoppers at Bloomingdales in New York. The huge US iced tea industry was born and the drink is now popular all around the world.
It’s so easy to make your own great iced tea, either with green tea or black - Ceylon tea works especially well as it remains very clear as it cools. It can be made as a cold-brew with a bit of planning [add tea to cold water and brew for a day] or made hot and iced water added. Honey or a natural cordial to sweeten a little or a lot to taste, some lemons and limes and some alcohol if you must. The opportunities are endless - different herbal infusions also make a great base.

We have a few recipes to share in our EIC Recipe Book; we would love to hear yours too.

Our spirit delivers no ordinary products

  • FAQ

    I love flavoured iced teas, do you have any recipes that I can try?
    Yes, we have lots of iced tea recipes, cocktail and ‘mocktail’ recipes too. Click here to see our EIC recipes. Check out our cordials page, you can fine some of the recipes there too.

    I enjoy a classic iced tea with lemon and lime using a black tea base. Which tea would you recommend?
    Good question: some teas can go cloudy - still tasting good - but if you want a clean and clear traditional iced tea, we recommend a black tea from Sri Lanka, such as our Sir Anthony Oliphant's Ceylon Loose Black Tea Caddy 125g. For Peach Iced Tea fans, we suggest trying our Peach Infused Black Tea.

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    UK Standard Delivery: £3.95
    UK Next Day Delivery (mainland UK only): £9.95 (Order before 12pm)
    International Delivery is available, please see our delivery page for details. For more information and Terms & Conditions, please see our Delivery page.

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