In Jamaica, Trinidad and throughout the English-speaking Caribbean sorrel is served religiously at Christmastime. To make Jamaican sorrel drink, steep sorrel petals with copious amounts of ginger in hot water for several hours. Aromatic spices such as orange peel or cloves are often added but are not required. The sorrel drink is then sweetened with lots of sugar and rum. For added flavor sweeten sorrel with flavored syrups instead of sugar
Sorrel is part of the Hibiscus family, and you will sometimes see it labeled as such depending on where it is produced and packaged.
It is not to be confused with the flowering plant that bears a large red flower. Traditionally in the islands you would either pick fresh sorrel to brew or buy the dry petals at the market. In the United States and in other parts of the world sorrel can be bought, dried and packaged.
In recent years sorrel has become so popular in and outside the Caribbean that several companies now distribute it worldwide. Sorrel can be purchased already brewed in Jamaican restaurants and grocery stores where Caribbean foods are sold. The dry petals can be found in many Spanish and Caribbean grocery stores worldwide. If you cannot find sorrel where you live Amazon.com is your best bet for purchasing the dried petals. The remaining ingredients can be easily found in any local grocery store.
One of my favorite ways to use the left-over sorrel petals is to make sorrel rum cake
- Add water, ginger and desired spices to a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. When water begins to boil; remove from the stove and add the sorrel to the water. Cover and let the sorrel steep for 6 to 24 hours. After it steeps, strain the sorrel into a juice jug. Stir in the sugar and rum if desired. Taste for flavor and sweetness. Add cold water to dilute if the flavor is too strong. Add more sugar if desired. Serve cold, with ice or at room temperature. Refrigerate unused sorrel for up to 1 year.
- Mixin 2 cups of sugar and taste for sweetness before adding the third cup.
- If using fresh sorrel pick and wash petals thoroughly before using