Jamaican Sorrel Drink

Makes at least 1 1/2 quarts (more, depending on how much you dilute it)

August has drug on too long. I know because the mosquitoes have given up for the summer. Not a one can be found. They’ve been cooked off. I’ve been shriveling up, too. Thankfully a few of our readers suggested I try sorrel, Jamaica’s perky, often spiked answer to iced tea, typically served at Christmastime.

Sorrel is better than pouring a bucket of ice down your back. And it’s (literally) cooler than mulled wine (although I like that too).

Imagine: It’s December. The sun has her cheery face on. The tin roofs are hot. Cats hide in the shade while people sip sorrel in flip flops.

Christmastime in Jamaica.

Prime Sorrel drinkin’ time. 

I love it!

Now, let’s get clear on terminology… (UPDATE: Please check the comments  – I seem to have this mixed up a bit…)

Sorrel is the Jamaican word for hibiscus, a flower which grows abundantly on the island. Even though this drink is served on ice, sorrel retains the flavors of the holiday season – cinnamon, all spice, fresh ginger. For those who wish, rum sends it over the edge for a truly relaxing holiday season.

While Jamaican’s make this with fresh hibiscus, harvested in December, you can find dried hibiscus at African markets, some health food stores, or boxed up in tea bag form at Whole Foods and other stores with good tea selections, making it a perfect year-round treat.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole, dried sorrel (a.k.a. dried hibiscus)
2 inches ginger, sliced in thin coins for mild flavor, or chopped/grated for stronger flavor.
The peel of 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cups water
Sugar to taste (about 1 cup seemed good to me)

For diluting:

Water, rum, and/or ice, as desired

Method:

There is a season for everything. Until now.

Get yourself ready for Jamaican Christmas, available any season you want.

All you need is an orange, hibiscus, cinnamon, and ginger.

Peel the orange and slice (or grate) the ginger. I think I’ll grate it next time – the ginger flavor was a bit weak for my tastes. I like it to zing!

Add all ingredients to a pot, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. This took about 10 minutes. Then simmer for another 30 minutes to extract all the spiced goodness. Cool and refrigerate overnight for strongest flavor.

Strain, mix with ice, water and – if you’re feeling plucky – rum.

Batman approves!

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Even though this drink is served on ice, sorrel retains the flavors of the holiday season - cinnamon, all spice, fresh ginger. For those who wish, rum sends it over the edge for a truly relaxing holiday season.Jamaican Sorrel Drink
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. About 10 minutes.
  2. Then simmer for another 30 minutes to extract all the spiced goodness.
  3. Cool and refrigerate overnight for strongest flavor.
  4. Strain, mix with ice, water and rum.
Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

19 Comments

  1. Collette says

    That looks and sounds good…. but I think I will need rum in mine, lol.

  2. Shreela says

    I buy hibiscus tea from Fiesta Mart in Houston; sometimes they won’t have it, so I ask the produce manager and it’s there in a week or two. I’ve never made it with spice, and haven’t mixed it with alcohol, just drank it as tea with stevia. IMO, hibiscus tea requires more sweetening than other teas. Don’t let it get on light cloth for it stains! And if your cat is weird like mine, watch out your cat doesn’t try to drink it out of your glass (he never tries drinking anything else out of my glass, but 3 times for hibiscus tea!)

    • Sasha Martin says

      LOL your kitty cat is funny. Also, I totally agree regarding the sugar… hibiscus is very tart.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I did a lot of reading on this and asked a few people… from my understanding they are related and taste similar. I’d love to do a side by side comparison, but don’t have access of course.

  3. Kimmisha Thomas says

    No. I have a correction. Sorrel is not the Jamaican word for hibiscus though one may be forgiven for thinking so because of the similar rich red hue. They are two different plants.

  4. Charmain says

    I found your recipe for sorrel drink to be very helpful. My only problem is that you said that hibiscus and sorrel are the same plant and that is not so. Hibiscus is a flower of the Island while sorrel is the fruit that is used to make the drink. To my knowledge I have never seen anyone use the hibiscus flower to make sorrel drink.

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