Jamaican Sorrel Drink

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!

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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.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups dried sorrel buds
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 1 orange peel
  • 6 allspice berries, optional
  • Sweetener to taste

Directions:

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!

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    5.0

    This drink is such a beautiful colour, and I bet it tastes amazing! You’ve introduced me to a new ingredient – I’d only ever heard of the herb sorrel before.

  1. Ooh, I would love this! I’ve had a hibiscus drink before that looked similar and was so good! Sorrel sounds wonderful!

  2. jacquee | i sugar coat it!

    LOVE sorrel! I make it with lots of ginger and cinnamon quills – like my uncle did when we were kids. It’s a holiday staple.

  3. Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy

    What an interesting sounding drink. I have never seen those Sorrel buds. I need to visit some Caribbean markets I think.

  4. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen

    A lot of good food/drinks comes from Jamaica, and this looks to be one of them. I love the color of this drink. It’s very pretty, and it sounds amazing!

  5. Our family in Jamaica makes this every Christmas,nothing in the world like Christmas in Jamaica.ONE LOVE,RESPECT!!!!!

  6. George Adjei

    Nicely done. I am from Ghana and we love our sorrel just that its called SOBOLO here. Because I love the taste of fresh ginger, I don’t cook my ginger. I blend it and add the juice to the cooked sorrel with sweet fresh pineapple as the sweetener. Best served chilled for sure.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Thank you George, I love the idea of adding fresh ginger and pineapple juice as the sweetener. I’m going to add fresh sobolo next time and make it all raw for the extra nutritional benefits!

  7. I love Sorrel! I have made it occasionally with Ginger and cinnamon sticks and sometime with a bit of lime juice. Why don’t I make it more? Glad I found your instagram which led me here!

  8. Looks absolutely delish!! Reminds me a little of Glühwein that you can get around Christmas time in Germany! Except that this looks much more refreshing :-))

  9. This is an interesting drink. This is the first time I’ve heard and seen a sorrel. At first I thought it was a fruit.

  10. Beth@FrugalFroggie

    I didn’t get to drink that when I visited Jamaica. But now with the recipe I can make it at home.

  11. Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    This drink sounds delicious! I’ve never seen sorrel buds before, but it could be that I’ve never looked. I love festive drinks around the holidays and will give this a try if I can find the ingredients!

  12. Best drink ever!!. In Trinidad we don’t usually add the ginger to our sorrel. Wasn’t until I met my Husband.. his mom gave me some of hers and I tasted ginger and I asked her why the ginger is in there lol. But some cold sorrel is the best!!

  13. the sorrel buds are SO pretty – and I love the color. I love anything hibiscus, so I am sure I’d love this as well – sounds delicious!

  14. Jade Priscilla

    Sorrel is delicious. I grew up drinking it every Christmas time and it is a favourite in our house . :-) x

  15. It looks so good, I just want to grab one of those tall glasses! Love the idea of a refreshing, unique drink like this for the holidays.

  16. I’d love a huge glass of this and would down it so fast! I love the beautiful color so much! Red is my favorite color, so I’m in love with this rich red color! Gorgeous.

  17. Jacqueline Meldrum

    I think I need some of this right now as I am suffering from the flu. I jinxed myself by posting a recipe for a Scottish hot toddy to help with colds and flu last week. *sigh*

  18. I’ve never heard of sorrel before this, but wow, how pretty it is! This looks so refreshing. Perfect for the holidays!

  19. Kelly @ TastingPage

    I’ve never had sorrel in a drink before, but love the sounds of it and seems super healthy so I’m in!

  20. mel@avirtualvegan.com

    Wow aren’t this calyces pretty? I love them and the colour they give the drink! It looks totally delicious!

  21. Vanessa @ VeganFamilyRecipes.com

    I’ve never heard of sorrel before but that drink OMG! looks scrumptious! I need to figure out how to get my hands on some sorrels now :)

  22. Sophia @Veggies Don't Bite

    I’ve never heard of these before! They are so intriguing though. And pretty. This drink looks super refreshing!

  23. Nice to have a name with the flowers… ! I bought them dried on my Capeverdean island last week and made the juice. Sweetened it a bit with my home made papaja sirup.
    Could it be that I got an allergic reaction from this juice? In the same period I drank it for the first time I felt feverish and had red spots all over my body for two days. I didn’t dare to drink it again ever since, although the colour is great and the taste nice and fresh.

  24. Prior to reading your post, I had never even heard of “sorrel.” They are so cool looking and must be so much fun to photograph…hehe. And the color of that drink is so vibrant and striking!

  25. Stacey @ Stacey Homemaker

    Wow, those sorrel buds are so unique, I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’d love to make this drink for my Christmas party this year!

  26. I have never tried sorrel before but am all for food and drinks that are healthy! I don’t think I have seen these in the Midwest, but I’ll be on the lookout!

    • My husband made this for us at Christmas time. It was stationary in hhis house in Trinidad. My first husband was from Jamaica his was less sweet. Mexicans call there’s hamica n it’s served in many resturants n fast food spots in California.

      • Michelle Blackwood

        That’s so nice to hear. You are always around this delicious drink. It’s grown her in Florida. I’m hoping its will get as popular here in the restaurants.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      No Theresa, I still don’t I have to walk to the cafeteria. But its good exercise, so I make trips to and from the house all day :)

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