A popular drink that used to be served mostly during Christmas time in Jamaica, but now its served all year round. It has great health benefits too!
Sorrel not to be confused with sorrel the herb, is a cousin of the hibicus flower. The calyces of the flower are dried and made into a popular drink throughout the Caribbean, Latin American, Middle Eastern and Africa countries. The calyces are high in Vitamin C and flavonoids. Studies have shown that these properties have great health benefits. They are anti-inflammatory, protecting the body from oxidative damages.
In Jamaica, the calyces of the sorrel are collected, then dried. The dried calyces are then steeped in boiling water along with ginger and other whole spices such as allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves. Then its traditionally sweetened with sugar and rum is added. I love to make mine simple, just with the addition of ginger and orange skin without the alcohol. On rare occasions, I might add some allspice berries! I normally steep mine overnight but its not necessary.
Dried sorrel can be found in African, West Indian and Asian grocers. Other names that it could be called are, ‘Jamaican Flower’, ‘Agua de Flor de Jamaica,’ ‘Jamaican Flower,’ ‘Hibiscus’.
I was fortunate to get a large bag of freshly picked sorrel from a new friend here in Florida. I will be drying the calyces so they can last me throughout the year until I can grow my own. I used the dried ones I already had for this recipe, since most people will be able to get the dried ones. Below I share a photo of how the fresh ones look. I’m fortunate to have an orange tree growing here, the tree is loaded with oranges. So I decided to add orange peel to my recipe. In Jamaica sugar is the sweetener of choice, but I enjoy mine sweetened with maple syrup and liquid stevia.
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups dried sorrel buds
- 2 inches ginger, grated
- 1 orange peel
- 6 allspice berries, optional
- Sweetener to taste
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add sorrel, ginger, orange peel and allspice berries. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 2 hours or cool and place in the refrigerator overnight. Strain. Sweeten with your favorite sweetener. Refrigerate and enjoy!