Tis the Season, so I am sharing this sorrel drink recipe, a Jamaican traditional Christmas drink. Get some white rum, spices, ginger, sorrel and make it a Jamaican Christmas in your kitchen.
What Is It Sorrel Drink?
The Jamaican sorrel drink is a traditional Christmas beverage made from the Roselle plant. The Roselle plant is a type of hibiscus that bears a crimson red accessory fruit, which Jamaicans call Sorrel.
The sorrel fruit is picked, deseeded and boiled along with spices such as ginger, cinnamon, pimento berries (allspice) to create this Christmas drink.
In Jamaican, we use freshly picked fruit to make the drink, but if you can’t find fresh Sorrel where you are, you can easily find dried ones online or in your local supermarket.
Traditionally only drink during the festive season, but now that you can also find store-bought, it’s available to drink all year round.
Jamaican Christmas Drink
Drinking Sorrel drink at Christmas time is Jamaican tradition. You can’t spend Christmas in a Jamaican household and not drink Sorrel.
Jamaican Christmas is synonymous with Sorrel drink and rum cake. Rum is a big part of the festive season. So the sorrel drink must contain rum, lots of rum!
If you buy Sorrel drink from the store, it won’t contain rum because it’s made for everyday drinking. But when making Sorrel drink for the festive season, it must have Ray & Nephew white rum.
What Goes In It – Jamaican Sorrel drink recipe
Jamaican Sorrel drink recipe requires just six ingredients, Sorrel, ginger, pimento berries (allspice), cinnamon (this can be the leaf or stick), white rum and sugar to taste.
There are some variations to this recipe, where citrus and other spices such as star anise are added. But for this recipe, we are sticking to the traditional Jamaican Sorrel drink recipe.
Here I used fresh Sorrel fruit. The fresh Sorrel fruit gives the drink a richer flavour and a deeper red colour. So I would suggest getting fresh Sorrel if you can, but if you can’t, dry packs will do.
- Fresh sorrel – For me, fresh sorrel is better. If you are using fresh sorrel, make sure to clean it thoroughly and remove any seed before you use it.
- Ginger – If you can get Jamaican ginger, please do. It is much smaller in size but has a more potent taste.
- Pimento (Allspice) – This is a must if you want the flavour of Jamaica. You can also add a few berries to the drink when storing it.
- Cinnamon – Sorrel is a spiced drink, so we have to add our spices.
- Sugar – For sweetening. I prefer brown sugar, but it does matter which type of sugar you use.
- Rum – White rum is best for this recipe. Use Wray and Nephew to make it authentically Jamaican.
How To Make Sorrel Drink
You may be surprised by how simple this drink is to make.
Preparation– If you are using fresh sorrel, make sure to give it a thorough wash before you start. Sometimes you may find sorrel fruit with seeds in the centre. Make sure to remove any seeds first.
Boiling Process – Add the sorrel to a pot of water along with the spices and put it to a boil. The amount of water should just about cover the sorrel in the pot. Too much water Once the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down and let it boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.
After Cooking – Leave to steep overnight or for at least twelve hours so that the flavour from the sorrel, cinnamon, ginger and pimento (allspice) is infused in the liquid.
Make the Drink Your Way – Strain and sweeten to taste with sugar. I used brown sugar, but it doesn’t matter what type of sugar you use. The sugar also helps enhance the flavour of the spices. Now add your Rum!
The Amount Of Rum
Sorrel drink doesn’t taste or feel festive without the rum. For me, the more rum the better!
But I have two ways of considering the amount of rum I add to the drink. If I am making it for the conservative members of the family I like to add just enough rum. Something like a cocktail so that the flavour of the dink overpowers the alcohol. This way, they can drink as much as they want.
For the family members who like to turn up and can hold their own, I’m pouring in the rum. Something like a rum punch, so the rum effect is a strong as the drink’s flavour. I like it like this, for me, it’s more festive.
If you are serving this to children, you may want to add little to no rum at all.
Serving & Storing
This drink is best to serve cold so add your ice.
Store in the refrigerator to keep it chilled. And because there is rum in the drink, you can store it for a long time. The longest I ever kept it refrigerated was three months in a sealed bottle.
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Jamaican Sorrel drink recipe
- 1 lb (453.59 g) Fresh sorrel
- 5 oz (141.75 g) Fresh ginger Thinly sliced
- 10 Pimento berries (allspice)
- 1 Cinnamon stick Or three cinnamon leaves
- 1 cup (0.24 l) White rum Or the amount of rum that you wish
- 1 1/2 cup (300 g) Sugar Sweeten to your taste
- 6 cups (1.89 l) Water
- Thoroughly wash the sorrel and pour the water away.
- Place the washed sorrel in a stainless steel pot along with the ginger, pimento berries and 6 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil. Boil for 5-10 minutes, then turn the heat off.
- Leave to steep overnight or for at least 12 hours
- Strain well
- Sweeten to taste with sugar.
- Add your rum and put to chill.
- Rum – White rum is best for this recipe, preferable Wray & Nephew. But I’m sure dark rum will also do the job.
- Sorrel – If you are using dried sorrel, make sure it’s the actual sorrel fruit and not dried hibiscus flowers.
- Ginger – Some ginger flavour is more potent than others, so understand the ginger you decide to use. The ginger taste should not overpower the sorrel flavour.