Ooh who, you ask?
That’s Ooba, the new sparkling hibiscus drink by the Pleasanton-based HiBix Corp.
Yes, that’s hibiscus as in the flower that’s used in Red Zinger tea, and in Mexican-style aqua frescas. Ooba is made with all-natural hibiscus extract from hand-harvested flowers from around the world that are shipped to California. The extract is blended with water and cane sugar, then carbonated.
Company CEO John-David Enright, a pharmaceutical industry veteran, touts the fat-free beverage’s antioxidants, and high level of Vitamin C. Eight fluid ounces — half of one bottle — has 90 calories.
The flavor also is quite refreshing and enjoyable. Less tart than pomegranate juice, with a sweet, slightly tangy flavor reminiscent of raspberries and cranberries along with a subtle floral note akin to rose petals.
Ooba comes in six flavors. There are the three debut ones, which I tried and much enjoyed: Original Hibiscus, Hibiscus & Lime, and Hibiscus & Orange. There also are three new flavors: Hibiscus & Vanilla, Hibiscus & Pineapple, and Hibiscus & Blackberry. Sip them straight, or mixed into cocktails.
Ooba is available at Whole Foods markets for about $2 a bottle.