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Sorrel Drink: How To Make It The Jamaican Way

Updated on November 26, 2013
Cardisa profile image

Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger and content creator.

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The Sorrel drink is the Jamaica's national or traditional Christmas beverage. Every home will have the drink on Christmas day. Without sorrel it doesn't seem like Christmas at all.

If you can't make it yourself, purchase a gallon from your local supermarket, but I must warn you that the home made sorrel drink is the best. The store bought drink cannot compare, so try making it yourself. Sorrel is a must for the Jamaican Christmas dinner table. I will explain to you how to make the Jamaica traditional sorrel drink, the basic version with variations.


A friend brought me some sorrel this past week
A friend brought me some sorrel this past week | Source
The sorrel plant
The sorrel plant
Sweetening the drink.
Sweetening the drink. | Source

Basic sorrel drink preparation

You will need:-

  • A large pot (a 3 gallon pot will do)
  • 2 lbs sorrel florets, stripped from the stalks. Purchase it stripped and bagged
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 dozen pimento seeds or 6 cloves (I prefer the cloves)
  • 2 oz ginger, smashed
  • Sugar to taste

Method: Put water to boil in pot. Meanwhile rinse florets and discard any bad ones (when they start to soften or darken they are bad). Make sure no foreign bodies are present. Sometimes other plants get mixed in with the sorrel. When water starts to boil add sorrel and ginger then turn off flame. It is important not to boil the sorrel. You could opt to pour the water on the sorrel in another container. I suggest not using plastic for health reasons.

When the temperature drops a bit add the pimento or cloves. Best to leave the sorrel overnight before straining. When the sorrel is cool to room temperature pour of liquid using a strainer. Sweeten sorrel to taste. If you allow the sorrel to cool all the way before sweetening and bottling then the sorrel can be left out of the fridge for a few days. However, it is best to refrigerate. Based on experience, I find it best to allow the sorrel to cool overnight before sweetening, this gives the best results. You will need to throw back a few cloves into the container with the sweetened sorrel. The cloves acts as a natural preservative and makes it spicy.

Note: You can add more water while sweetening if the sorrel flavor is too strong.

Variations

For added kick to the sorrel here are a couple suggestions

  • Add rum to the sorrel when sweetening. Amount will depend on your alcohol tolerance or who you are serving. I suggest not serving this to children. You may reserve the non-alcoholic for kids and the elderly. This version is a sorrel rum punch.
  • Add port wine or the local sweet wine known as Red Label Wine. This won't make is as alcoholic as the rum but will still give it a kick and a very nice flavor.
  • You can add both the wine and rum for a nice alcoholic drink
  • You can choose to use the sorrel as a chaser to rum, brandy or vodka
  • Instead of cloves, add pimento seeds instead.
  • Add more ginger for a stronger ginger flavor

Enjoying a glass of my favorite drink while browsing HubPages.com
Enjoying a glass of my favorite drink while browsing HubPages.com | Source

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    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      I have never had sorrel before. I think I would have to make it my own here as I doubt I could find some already made in the store. My family has always made our own punch-non-alcoholic so everyone can drink it. As for store bought drinks, we love eggnog.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I know eggnog is kinda the American Christmas beverage. Sorrel is nice and tangy and refreshing!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      Canadian beverage too :)

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Oh oh..I forgot you were Canadian....sorry...lol

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Cardisa! You always come up with new and refreshing things for us. I would like to try sorrel! Where would I get the sorrel florets?

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Dexter, sorrel is very popular these days and are available every where. Try your local market or supermarket. If you tell me exactly where you are I could try and source it for you.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love love love sorrel. Fortunately, I live here in Brooklyn, New York City where I can easily pick up a refreshing drink. Sooooo good!

      I tried to make it myself and it was nowhere near as good.

      But now I have an authentic recipe. I will try it for Christmas - yay! And sorrel has so many nutritional benefits. Mmmmm.

      Bookmarked for Christmas and rated up!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      You go BK, I hope it turns out well.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      This sounds like a very interesting drink, especially with a little bit of rum! I had never heard about sorrel before. I MUST give it a try some day. Thanks for sharing, Cardisa! :)

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for dropping by Om. You should try sorrel, you might be able to get it in the States.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

      This does look good to try but I will copy it and stick in a folder to not forget it, I don't think I have ever gone back to bookmarks, and I thing this would be fun and different, thanks!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

      Oh and voted up, and excellent hub.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, Cardisa, this sounds great! I love trying new foods...and drinks. lol

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Polly, I am sure you are gonna love it!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Habee,thanks. It is a wonderful drink with a tangy taste.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow....is this what Mexicans call "jamaica" (ha-MY-ka), I wonder? Maybe that's where the name in Spanish comes from! I had always heard that it was hibiscus flowers, but maybe hibiscus and sorrel are the same thing or very similar. I *love* jamaica and love its tart/sweet taste, and have made it at home many times from dried flowers. I can only imagine how much better using fresh flowers/sorrel must taste!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Livelonger, sorrel is a hibiscus. They are from the same hibiscus family. Dried or fresh florets, the drink is wonderful just the same.

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 5 years ago

      WO!. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Christmas is coming and it is now time for me to collect and try different recipes . Great hub.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Will, I know you'll just love it!

    • profile image

      Roschelle 5 years ago

      Hi i love sorrel i drink it almost everyweek it is cancer fighting and i loose weight from drinking it and it also help me to go regular

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I think it is oen of the best tasting drink in the world, I too can't live without it!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Cardisa, This sounds really good!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      It is Susan. It's tasty and nutritious.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Cardisa, I tasted sorrel for the first time last year. My friends are originally from St. Thomas and Panama. They brought out the sorrel at dinner last year. It is very, very good. Since then I've noticed that it's sold in a few of the Jamaican restaurants around me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Cyndi, it's very nutritious as well with cancer fight properties. Thanks for reading.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Cardisa, you know you're talking my language. My friends (Jamaican, Dominican and Kittitian) and I had sorrel for Thanksgiving. You gave good instructions.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks MsDora. I have been making it since I was a young girl. My friends like my sorrel. I made some last night and sweetened it this morning and my fiancé almost finished the entire jug full.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      I am going to try this out - and add a little bit of rum! Thank you for the recipe. It will be a new addition to my Christmas celebration!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Keeley, you will just love it! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 5 years ago from Northfield, MA

      This looks delicious and being freshly made is probably better for you than a store bought beverage. Thanks.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Cabmgmnt, freshly made is definitely better. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Great hub.... thank you for sharing. I actually never heard of this drink before so I find it be very interesting. :)

    • Free2seethemoon profile image

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Yum! Sounds refreshing, thanks for sharing.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Crescentmoon. The sorrel is a kind of hibiscus and is very tasty and nutritious.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Free2seethemoon, it is very refreshing and tasty. Thanks for stopping by.

    • LoveJewel profile image

      LoveJewel 5 years ago from Texas

      This is my favorite. My husband is from Trinidad and tabago, I always have to wait for his family to come to Texas in order to have some or go to a Caribbean resturtant. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      You are welcome LoveJewel. Now you can surprise him. I know he will enjoy it.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you for this article on how to make sorrel. I had it often when I lived in NY. Now I live in NC. Do you have a good recipe for black cake. I would love if you did an article on that! Your article is so informative!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      2bsure, thanks for visiting.

      I usually throw my ingredients together. I wasn't planning a cake this year but what I will do is put a hub together, maybe next week. I will do a cake with pictures and everything.

      Have a wonderful Christmas. I hope your holidays are peaceful and wonderful.

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 5 years ago

      Incredible! Thanks for sharing a family treat with such pride and joy!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you! It's a favorite of mine.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Did you know non-alcoholic sorrel can make you feel high or dizzy.

      Sorrel is a very powerful antioxidant and proven to reverse cancer by the University of the West Indies and Northern Caribbean University.

      It resolves any issues ladies have at that time of the month.

      Ferments into alcohol very easily and bubbles naturally like champagne.

      It is a powerful calmative and relaxant.

      Could go on and on

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Yes you are right Rasta. Whenever I drink a glass of sorrel I feel so relaxed no matter how agitated I am. You know Jamaicans like to liquor up everything. The sorrel in it's most natural state is the best and Rastafarian, like yourself, blend it with coconut jelly water instead of making it the traditional way.

      Bless up!

    • jean2011 profile image

      jean2011 5 years ago from Canada

      This is one of the drinks that I really miss having at Christmas. Living away from Jamaica, certainly has some positives and negatives, and not being able to have authentic Jamaican foods, is certainly one of my negatives. Thank for sharing Cardisa. Merry Christmas!

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Merry Christmas Jean! Another Jamaican, YAY!

      You know Jamaican's can't live without their sorrel. I tried to leave some for after the holidays but I tell you, it disappears so fast.

    • profile image

      JG 3 years ago

      Trini Sorrel a di only Sorrel bad mon drink! ;)

    • Cardisa profile image
      Author

      Carolee Samuda 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Lol, I bet to differ JG! lol, but I would say Jamaican sorrel a di only sorrel bad girl drink....hahahaha

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