Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jamaican Sorrel Drink

Sorrel is a favorite Jamaican holiday drink; a juice that’s drawn from the red sepals of the Roselle Plant (aka) the Hibiscus Sabdariffa.

As a member to the hibiscus family, it goes by many different names and used all over the world for many different ailments, food coloring, brewed as medicinal teas, and is great as a digestive aide but in Jamaica and a few other neighboring islands its know as 'Sorrel', the drink that always takes you home.

It’s almost like a spiced ice tea with a kick. When I was younger, "picking sorrel” was a chore around holiday time.  Weeks before Christmas, my dad would spend days harvesting, which involved, picking it from the tree, removing the red sepals from the prickly seed, laying them out to dry and brewing it to make a wonderful holiday punch, we’d make enough to last us throughout the holiday season.

Nowadays if you walk through certain supermarket aisles you’ll find it already pre-packaged picked, prepped and ready to go, JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT.

1 lb dried Sorrel sepals
10 cups of water
1 small peg of ginger, grated
1 piece orange peel
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon or (2 whole cinnamon sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
For the Grown up taste, add a splash of Jamaican white rum, wine, or sherry.

  • Bring stock pot with water to boil
  • Stir in sorrel sepals, sugar, ginger, orange peel, cloves and let boil for 10 minutes
  • Remove mixture from heat and let cool, cover and set aside letting it steep overnight
  • After 24 hours strain the liquid through a sieve into a jar and discard anything left in the sieve
  • At this point do a taste test, if it’s too strong; add more water & if it’s too tart just add more sugar
  • For the Adult version ADD RUM, or Red Label Wine and refrigerate
  • Serve Chilled or over Ice
Note: this DOES leave a red stain, similar to a red wine stain on anything plastic, so use a non-reactive glass jar or bowl.

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