Jamaican Sorrel Drink
During the Christmas season, a refreshingly cold, tangy jug of Sorrel Drink is a ‘must-have’ in many Jamaican households whether you live at home or abroad.
Sorrel – Jamaica’s Christmas Drink
Growing up in Jamaica, my mother would purchase and brew lots of fresh sorrel with spices early in the season and let it steep for days. Steeping the sorrel infuses it with a rich flavour just in time for Christmas dinner. After dinner, we would all look forward to that first refreshing sip of sorrel drink with its bold, yet tantalizing kick of ginger. That for me was like the icing to meal-time!
Every Jamaican knows to have large containers ready to make and store their Sorrel drink, especially when catering to family and friends. Because when family and friends stop by during the holidays, it is customary to treat them to a slice of fruit cake with a glass of Sorrel drink. Jamaican Sorrel drink also complements the rich meals of the season right up to the New Year. Overall, many thoroughly enjoy a cold glass of Sorrel Drink on its own, throughout the day.
Since migrating to Canada with my family fresh sorrel has been difficult to source. Dried sorrel has provided great results. In fact, I find dried sorrel to be a better option because it has a long shelf-life, it’s more affordable and it’s just as flavourful when using my Jamaican recipe. My family and I now enjoy the delicious taste of Christmas every year by using dried sorrel to make our Jamaican sorrel drink.
This Jamaican Sorrel drink recipe is a simple yet flavourful way to spice up all your Christmas festivities, so give it a try!
What is Sorrel drink made of?
Sorrel drink uses dried sorrel, infused with ginger, pimento, and cloves, then sweetened with cane sugar to make a refreshing holiday beverage. The blend of spices provides a subtle accent to the naturally tart flavour of the sorrel. Enjoyed as a key part of Christmas celebrations in Jamaica and the Caribbean, this spicy drink can be prepared with or without alcohol. If you’re an adult who prefers the more spirited version, you can add a splash of rum or red wine to your taste.
Sorrel Drink is made by boiling the sorrel with spices in water to extract all the delicious properties of the sepals. The brew is then sweetened and served chilled or over ice. The exotically floral, and flavourful taste of the Jamaican sorrel drink all starts with the brewing process. Boiling the dried sorrel along with spices rehydrates the sorrel and starts the extraction process. The slow steeping process makes the sorrel drink full-bodied; giving it a rich, appealing red colour, and infuses it with maximum flavour. Layering flavours like ginger, cloves and pimentos and cane sugar brings this spiced floral drink to life.
What are the health benefits of Sorrel drink?
Sorrel offers several health benefits. The juice extracted from sorrel contains poly-phenolic acid, flavonoids and anthocyanins which are potent antioxidants that help to protect from premature cell damage and reduces ageing, supporting eye, immune and digestive health. Research also indicates that drinking unsweetened sorrel helps to lower blood pressure.
Refreshing Jamaican Sorrel Drink
- 4 Litre Stainless Steel Pot
- large Strainer
- large container with lid
- 100 g dried sorrel (or 4 cups)
- 16 cups water
- 4 inch ginger root chopped and crushed
- ½ tbsp cloves
- ½ tbsp pimento seeds
- 1 orange peel optional
- 2 cups cane sugar to taste
- 1 tsp ginger powder optional
- 1 cap Jamaican rum optional
- ¼ cup red wine optional
- Peel, chop, wash and crush the ginger root.
- Add dried sorrel, ginger root, cloves, pimento seeds and water to a large pot and let it boil for 40 minutes.
- After boiling add the orange peel, cover the pot and allow the sorrel steep for 12 - 24 hrs. The longer the sorrel steeps the more flavourful and potent it becomes.
- Place a large strainer over a large container and strain the liquid from the pot of sorrel.
- Use a large wooden spoon or your hands to squeeze the excess liquid through the strainer before discarding the sorrel pulp.
- Add 2 cups of cane sugar to sweeten.
- If you're making sorrel for adults who enjoy the kick of alcohol, add some rum or red wine - 'to taste'. Start with a small quantity, taste the sorrel, and add more alcohol only as needed.
- If you like your sorrel extra spicy follow this step:Taste the sorrel to test for the desired flavour. Add a bit more sugar, ginger powder, cloves and pimento as necessary. I love my sorrel extra spicy and prefer to add 1 - 2 tsp ginger powder, a few more cloves and pimento seeds after sweetening. Please know that it's totally up to your taste whether you add OR omit these additional ingredients. If you choose to add more spices, let the sorrel steep on the counter for another 6 - 8 hrs and then strain it for the final time.
- When you have the desired sorrel flavour, pour the sorrel into a large jug, cover it and refrigerate. Your sorrel can last for weeks when refridgerated.
- Serve your sorrel 'over ice', bless up and enjoy it!!