This New Year, why not consider a festive drink for your next holiday social gathering that will not only keep your guests happy, but something that will most definitely have them looking forward to your next holiday bash! We all know that not every holiday drink recipe can warm hearts, but the rich, spicy flavor of a Jamaican sorrel drink can do just that!
The sorrel plant has a long history in Jamaican culture. It has been used for centuries. However, sorrel is not indigenous to Jamaica. You can find it all over the world in places like Panama, Bahamas and many other warm climates. But the taste of the sorrel drink is definitely unique to Jamaica with the addition of Jamaican rum (or red wine), giving it a smooth, sweet yet light taste that is not only refreshing but also pleasing to the fussiest pallets.
To give you a bit of history of the sorrel plant, it’s official name is Hibiscus Sabdariffa. It’s actually a species of the hibiscus plant which is often found in tropical countries like Jamaica. This annual perennial herb has a very unique look. It actually grows to about 2 meters high and has beautiful white and yellow flowers with a red dot on the end of each petal. As it matures, and ripens in mid November to December, a bright red fruit is formed. This is the sorrel fruit that is removed to make sorrel. It’s rich, bright red color is hard to miss. Once you peal it open, you will see a green seed inside. This is discarded and not used in the making of this popular tropical holiday drink. Only the red skin of the sorrel is removed to make this lovely festive drink not only a favorite during Christmas, but also on New Year’s Eve. Looking for recipes this New Years? This is it!
So, how is this wonderfully unique Caribbean drink made? It’s a fairly simple task but you’ll first require some tools to help you along the way.
This is what you’ll need:
Rubber gloves to peel the sorrel from the seed (the red from the sorrel fruit can stain fingers, so to avoid having “Kool Aid fingers” the next day, wear gloves.
A huge pot to boil the sorrel once pealed
A big spoon to stir the sorrel to check if it’s completely boiled
Strainer to strain the sorrel and ginger from the pot
Red Wine or Rum
Fresh or dried sorrel, fresh or dried ginger, sugar, Port Wine or Jamaican Rum
Note: Fresh or dried sorrel tastes the same. However, fresh ginger gives the drink a much more refreshing taste.
Take the red skin off the green pod with the seed in it. Discard the green seed pod inside and use the red skin from the sorrel (looks like an octopus).
The ratio is roughly one cup of sorrel to four cups of boiling water.
Crush or grate a quarter cup of peeled ginger.
Add sorrel to boiling water and boil for about 20-30 minutes or until most of the red color has left the sorrel. It will most likely look pink in color once done. Then remove from heat and leave for a couple of hours to cool. Sweeten with brown sugar to preferred taste. Depending on how much you make, you’ll need to determine how much sugar you want. Some like it sweeter than others so add sugar bit by bit until you reach your desired sweetness. Do this when it’s room temperature so that the sugar dissolves easier. Add about a quarter cup (or less if you desire) of Port wine or Jamaican Rum for taste. You can also add a pinch of lime juice if you like, but it’s not mandatory.
Note: Be very cautious if you decide to purchase fresh sorrel to make this drink. It can rot very quickly. So, if you don’t plan to use it right away, opt for the dried sorrel instead. But if you’ve already purchased fresh sorrel, you can preserve it for a later date by picking the skin off and using what you need. However, sundry the rest by placing it on tin foil and having it dry out. Once it’s dried, save it in a paper bag and place it in your kitchen cupboard for later use.
If you want a delicious New Years coctail drink, Jamaican Sorrel will be a winner at your next holiday party. Couple this drink with some Jamaican jerk chicken wings and you’ll have a party that won’t be forgotten!