Sorrel Drink: How To Make It The Jamaican Way
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.
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.
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