Red beverages made from strawberries (which grow in abundance in states where slavery proliferated, like Louisiana) and hibiscus, a plant native to West Africa, are particularly popular during Juneteenth celebrations. This hibiscus sorbet is flavored with spices and citrus that are reminiscent of bissap, a hibiscus-infused beverage enjoyed in countries like Guinea, or Sorrel, a festive beverage enjoyed during the holidays in Jamaica. Though bissap is typically tart, this sorbet toes the line between just-sweet-enough and barely-tart, thanks to the lime juice and the steeped hibiscus flowers. The steeped hibiscus flowers also provide a rich, deep and vibrant red color.
Place the hibiscus flowers if using, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves and 2 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and steep for 15 minutes.
Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Stir in the hibiscus syrup, corn syrup and lime juice. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 4 hours.
Freeze the mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and store, covered, in the freezer. If the sorbet is too hard when serving, let soften in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.