Sorrel Drink

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Sorrel Drink is 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 Drink

Sorrel Drink is the most popular drink used to be served mostly during Christmas in Jamaica, but now it’s served all year round. It has excellent health benefits too! 

You can serve your guest with a refreshing sorrel drink and also the best giveaway on festive occasions or thanksgiving. 

 Sorrel Drink

What is Sorrel?

Sorrel is a cousin of the hibiscus tree, so not to be confused with the sorrel herb. The flower calyces are dried and made into a popular drink in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Rosella in Australia. It is called the Zobo drink in the Middle East and African countries in Nigeria. It has a tart cranberry flavor.

Jamaican Sorrel Drink

As I am conscious about the healthy diet from past health concerns, so I keep my recipes full of healthy ingredients. I am a massive lover of Sorrel tea or drink in winter, so before winters, I prepare my tea and store it to enjoy the whole season. Here is the recipe of how I make my Jamaican sorrel tea

Sorrel: The Sorrel will get more robust, and the longer it dips into the hot water, the tarter it gets.

I used the dried ones I already had for this recipe since most people will get the dried ones. Above, 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 Jamaican drinks, sugar is the sweetener of choice, but you can substitute sugars with maple syrup or liquid stevia.

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 to last me throughout the year until I can grow my own.

Jamaican Sorrel Plant to make sorrel drink

What is sorrel good for? 

  • Sorrel drink has many health benefits mainly it contains Vitamin C,
  • The calyces of the Sorrel are high in Vitamin C and flavonoids. Studies have shown that these properties have significant health benefits. 
  • They are anti-inflammatory, protecting the body from oxidative damages and helps in smooth digestion.
  • Sorrel is used to treat bacterial infections along with traditional medications, to alleviate sudden and ongoing pain and swelling (inflammation) of the nasal passages and respiratory tract, 
  • and it is used to improve urine flow,
  • It is also a herbal remedy to cure cancer and liver,
  • Jamaican Sorrel drink also helps to reduce blood pressure. 
  • By significantly reducing elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, Sorrel has been shown to minimize the risk of heart disease, as it helps avoid artery-clogging. It also has benefits when used daily.
  • Sorrel drink also reduces cholesterol levels.

Jamaican Sorrel contains essential minerals:

Sorrel’s Vitamin C:

  • It helps to build up the immune system and, especially at this time of the year, reduces the risk of having such diseases such as flu.
  • Helps to absorb iron from dried peas, dried beans, and dark-green leafy vegetables (non-haem iron).
  • Assists in the healing of bruises and cuts.

Vitamin B1 in Sorrel:

  • It helps the body from the starchy foods consumed to provide more nutrition for the brain and nerve cells.

Vitamin B2 in Sorrel:

  • It allows the body to get energy during exercise from the fat that is stored in the body.
  • It prevents cell damage.

Flavonoids in Sorrel:

  • Helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • It helps to lower blood sugar.
  • It helps decrease the cholesterol of ‘poor cholesterol’ or low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and boost ‘healthy cholesterol’ or high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

Sorrel drink being steeped

 Inadequate evidence of using Sorrel for other purposes: 

  1. Breast cancer: 

Early evidence shows that Sorrel taking by mouth, burdock root, does not boost the health of women who have breast cancer.

  1. Bronchitis: 

Research indicates that ten days of consumption by the mouth of a particular combination product containing Sorrel, gentian root improves cough and other bronchitis symptoms.

  1. A large amount of sorrel may cause diarrhea,
  2. It also causes Infections and allergies or skin adverse reactions.

Special Precautions and Warnings:

Children:

Sorrel can be dangerous in children when consumed in large quantities by mouth. Oxalic acid is found in Sorrel. There is a concern because after consuming rhubarb leaves, a four-year-old child dies due to oxalic acid. 

Breastfeeding and pregnancy:

Sorrel is not safe when taken by mouth during pregnancy in large quantities. Besides, during pregnancy, taking Sorrel as part of a combination product (Sinupret) could increase the risk of congenital disabilities. There is insufficient credible knowledge on the efficacy of taking medicinal quantities of Sorrel while you are breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side to prevent any harm.

Kidney disease: 

Large quantities of sorrel consumption could increase the risk of kidney stones. If you’ve ever had kidney stones, do not use Sorrel without seeking medical advice.

Where to buy Jamaican Sorrel drink?

Sorrel is not available in many countries and marts, but the sorrel drink can be readily available online through Amazon

Ingredients for sorrel drink

Jamaican Sorrel Ingredients

As many of us know hibiscus blossoms, Jamaican Sorrel can be found dried online and in Latin American or natural food stores, where it is also called (flor de jamaica).

For making a refreshing Jamaican drink, the blossoms are soaked into hot or chilled water for hours to make caffeine-free tea. The tea has a lovely vibrant red color and a tart, tangy taste, a little like cranberry or pomegranate.

The tea is sometimes mixed with redolent spices like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, simple syrup, and Jamaican rum, best for winter holidays to punch up the season’s tastes.

I love to make mine simple, just with the addition of ginger and orange skin without the alcohol. I usually steep mine overnight, but it’s not necessary. 

How To Make Sorrel Drink?

This is the method for using dried sorrel

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add sorrel, ginger, orange peel, and allspice berries.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 2 hours or cool and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Strain. Sweeten with your favorite sweetener. Refrigerate and enjoy!

How Long Can You Keep Sorrel?

Storage: The punch can be packed for up for a year in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. It tastes better as it ages.

Other Delicious Jamaican Recipes To Try:

overlay of sorrel drinks in glasses on cutting board on a blue background

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Categories

Nutrition

(Per portion)
  • Energy: 120 kcal / 502 kJ
  • Carbs: 29 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 5 min
  • Ready in: 15 min
  • For:
  • 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add sorrel, ginger, orange peel, and allspice berries.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow the sorrel to steep for 2 hours or cool and place in the refrigerator overnight
  3. Strain the sorrel using a fine mesh strainer or a nut bag. Sweeten the sorrel drink with your favorite sweetener. Refrigerate and enjoy!
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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33 Comments
  1. Carolyn Webbe
    December 26, 2020

    I did try making the sorrel drink recipe. However, my Jamaican and Trinidadian friends friends living in Bermuda suggested that in addition to your recipe I should add fresh spice leaves, lemon grass, sugar apple leaves , morengo (sp) leaves, etc. This gave it a robust kick and a medicinal touch. No alcohol. Served in small quantities. It was highly favored by my West Indian and Indian friends. I also made the Jamaican fruit cake recipe and it was loved by all who tasted it.
    Thank you for your alternative vegan recipes which taste great so far!
    Bermuda

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      December 26, 2020

      Carolyn, thank you so much for your feedback. I love my Bermudian friends! I will definitely have to try adding the spice leaves to my sorrel, I’m so happy you loved the fruit cake also!

  2. Morris Gallati
    January 20, 2020

    Nice blog and recipes, I’m really excited to try your other recipes, thanks for share!

  3. Alyze
    December 28, 2019

    Looking forward to making this! I was at my local grocer and saw the sorrel in a huge bin right when I walked in. I asked a lady who was filling a bag with them how they are used and she told me. Looked up inline recipes and chose this site to make my first sorrel beverage.

    I will rate the recipe once I’ve made it.

  4. TheHerbShopJA
    November 12, 2019

    There’s no Christmas in Jamaican and throughout the Caribbean, without sorrel.
    Get yourself ready for a truly Jamaican Christmas! 🎄🎅 Enjoy a delicious traditional Caribbean drink.

  5. Debbi Lo
    June 25, 2019

    A Jamaican friend just introduced this drink to me! Wonderful. Heading to the Asian market today to pick up the ingredients.

  6. Kim
    June 12, 2019

    A truly delicious drink, thank you for the recipe.

  7. Mandy
    June 12, 2019

    A look at some of the wonderful health benefits of sorrel …

  8. Carla Pratt
    May 21, 2019

    Good afternoon Michelle, I discovered you on Pinterest the other day and I am enamored with your recipes.

    I haven’t indulged as yet, but I assure you I intend! I try to adhere to a Vegan diet, but often time fall short because I’m a poor or should I say I dislike to cook! I love the simplicity of your recipes; they are inspiring to LOVE to cook!!

    I did the pumpkin soup and it turned out rather well!!

    I will be making the Sorrel Drink soon.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      May 21, 2019

      Hello Carla, I’m so happy you found me. Thank you for your feedback, I’m glad the pumpkin soup turned out well. I hope my recipes will make you enjoy cooking.

  9. Ludmilla Wikkeling-Scott
    April 9, 2019

    Thank you for your recipe and living in Abu Dhabi, I was delighted to see that Karkade (Arabic name for Hibiscus/Sorrel) was widely available. In Suriname we use the combination of Sorrel and Ginger although most of us are raised drinking Ginger Beer. While I agree with the researcher and as a public health researcher myself, it is very difficult to transform communities overnight into using the healthier sugars when the supply of less healthy sugars remains much more available. Also, anything good is more expensive, so you can find alternative and healthier sugars, but the cost associated competes with the hundreds of products that contain the bad sugars. That is not to say that it is impossible, anything is possible if you put your mind to it but that is assuming behavior change is easy and can be attained overnight. That we know is far from true. In public health most determinants of health are related to lifestyle choices, so I think it starts with making people aware of the choices they have to make the change and take control of their health, rather than wait for the doctor to provide a pharmaceutical product to do the job we may be able to do if we change our lifestyle…all that said, this non-vegan website is not the place to establish scientific evidence for social determinants of health that most people are not aware of. Instead I think it should be understood that the challenges in changing behavior are adequately addressed by presenting the “choices” we have. I choose to purchase and or prepare certain foods regardless of the flavors engrained in my system from my Caribbean upbringing because I want to live a healthier life, and not get older and sicker…everything in moderation so when I prepare sorrel and ginger with agave (if I can find it) or cane sugar (when I want to be in a rush), I know that the healthier option for me, may not be the preference for others. It is all in the personal decision, one step at the time…I let my guests know what is in my drink (awareness) and I find that they appreciate that more than a lecture about what sugars they should or should not use.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      April 9, 2019

      Hello Ludmilla, thank you for your insightful response. I appreciate it, greetings from Florida.

  10. JW
    March 13, 2019

    Great information, however, healthier steps are possibly missing links. I enjoyed your page but felt you have much more to offer. I am a researcher and have suggested my comments in an effort to outline some thoughts.

    In the Middle East, sorrel name is different than your posted name. When referring to the Middle East, where I have lived for 14 years, there is a distinction between the GCC and North Africa. Collectively called MENA region; Middle East North Africa.

    Sorrel, however in not grown in the Qatar, where I live, formerly from Brooklyn New York. Also, I think a deeper study of Sorrel will benefit your readers. There are several varieties of sorrel, and it is also high in a lot of other important nutrients like magnesium and potassium.

    For example, Sorrel is a” Night-Shade Plant” and may be contributing to health related issues. If a person is struggles with food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease or leaky gut syndrome, there is a chance that a class of vegetables called nightshade vegetables could be contributing to your health condition, like sorrel.

    Also, I would like to suggest an alternative to the use of sugar and other “sweeteners”, without being specific. Since sugar is the real culprit in contributing to destroying the body and a great contributor to addiction of sugar for our children. See site research below.

    Artificial sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners as they are sometimes referred to, have been controversial since they were first introduced to the market in the 1950s, and scientific research shows they are associated with many dangerous side effects.

    Sugar is genetically modified. It comes from genetically modified beets and GMO corn.

    In 2014, researchers were able to scientifically show that ingesting too much added sugar could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

    In fact, people getting 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar face a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who got just 8% of their calories from sugar. The relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of their calories from added sugar.

    That means regular sugar is unnatural and highly toxic to the body. So why use it? It’s so easy to replace those fake sugars with real sugar, so use these natural sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners instead – Stevia is all-natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of a flowering plant.

    See research:
    Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents. Kearns CE et al. JAMA Intern Med. (2016)

    • Michelle Blackwood
      March 13, 2019

      JW, thank you for your lengthy response. This recipe was originally written long before the updated date in 2017. At the moment I’m out of the country so my time is limited. In order for me to delve deeper on the subject matter, it will warrant a completely new post. The University of West Indies here in Jamaica has done extensive research on sorrel http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110429/news/news6.html, https://www.mona.uwi.edu/fms/wimj/category/keywords/hibiscus-sabdariffa, http://caribbean.scielo.org/scielo.php?pid=S0043-31442006000400008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en, http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131211/health/health3.html
      This is a vegan page so I didn’t mention honey. I am a Jamaican so sugar is the sweetener that is traditionally used, so to remain authentic as possible, sugar is mentioned. I don’t get into a debate about the use of sugar, personally, I mostly use organic brown sugar, honestly, if I feel the dish tastes better with it I am going to use it. After all, most of the dishes on my website, I prepare for the website and I keep moving on to new creations, I am not a sugar-free website and I do this fulltime. So if you don’t use sugar, kudos to you. That’s the reason why I also mentioned sweetener of choice, so if the person wants to use honey (not vegan) then go ahead. My number one choice would be maple syrup but guess what it isn’t a realistic choice, because I have readers from all over the world and maple syrup wouldn’t be ideal nor would it taste authentic, how about date sugar? That can work too. I live in Florida and I grow stevia, but guess what? It would not taste right, it tastes awful and bitterly sweet in it because my husband made sorrel for his staff using stevia but he had to use Sugar in the Raw to balance the flavor. So it has to be a personal choice. If you are using it medicinally, my recommendation is to drink it as a tea unsweetened daily. If you are drinking it as a drink around Christmas time and special occasions, use sugar that has some of the nutrients intact, like organic brown sugar, make sure it is not granulated sugar and enjoy the drink, you will be blown away!

  11. Jackie
    March 2, 2019

    Are you sure you mean 2 inches of ginger? According to my ruler, that is a LOT of spicyness.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      March 2, 2019

      Absolutely, its a tried and true recipe, I’m Jamaican so we are used to the flavor.

      • JW
        March 13, 2019

        RAW!! Honey.
        What is raw honey? It’s a pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Most of the honey consumed today is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey does not get robbed of its incredible nutritional value and health powers.

        The health benefits of ginger are well-documented and ginger has been used across the globe as a natural remedy for thousands of years due to its medicinal properties. In fact, ancient Chinese, Roman, Greek, Arabic and Sanskrit texts have all documented the use of ginger root to help improve health and well-being.

  12. Lisa M Smith
    February 11, 2018

    My daughters’ mother-in-law made this one holiday and I loved it, since going vegan I wanted to add it to my special treat list and I found so many different ways to make it and all are lovely. Thank you for sharing your recipe, it is delicious. <3 I may add rum nest time. c;

    • Michelle Blackwood
      February 11, 2018

      Awesome thanks, I hope you enjoy. This Christmas my husband made it for his co=workers and he only used sorrel, ginger, allspice and organic cane sugar and it was very delicious. This drink has many health benefits as well. Enjoy!

      • Pat
        March 8, 2019

        Can you sweeten it with honey?

  13. Ariana
    January 21, 2018

    Amazing drink!This is a childhood favorite of mine.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 21, 2018

      Thank you Ariana!

  14. Ashley
    January 21, 2018

    One of my favorite drinks!

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 21, 2018

      Thank you Ashley!

  15. Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
    December 18, 2017

    My parents are from Trinidad, and I grew up drinking sorrel! I haven’t had it in ages though…I may need to try to make this myself

    • Michelle Blackwood
      December 18, 2017

      That’s awesome, I love Trinidadian cuisine. I hope you get to make some for Christmas holiday!

  16. Dunori
    December 18, 2017

    Sorrel causes such nice memories… in T&T the flowers come in Red, White, and Black varieties (yes, just like our flag). I put mine in the slow cooker and steep overnight for max extraction (at least that’s the effect I tell myself happens). Trini style is the same except no ginger and cloves instead of allspice.