Christmas/ Drinks & Cocktails/ Jamaican

Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe

December 10, 2022 (Last Updated: December 11, 2022)

This Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe is a sweet, refreshing Caribbean beverage made from hibiscus that’s been steeped overnight and infused with the perfect blend of aromatics and spices. Serve this classic and festive hibiscus drink during the Christmas holiday season, New Years or throughout the year with or without rum using dried or fresh sorrel.

jamaican sorrel drink in two glasses with ice.

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This Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe is a sweet, refreshing Caribbean beverage made from hibiscus that’s been steeped overnight and infused with the perfect blend of aromatics and spices. Serve this classic and festive hibiscus drink during the Christmas holiday season, New Years or throughout the year with or without rum using dried or fresh sorrel.

Interested in more traditional Jamaican beverages? You’ve got to try my Jamaican Carrot Juice it’s refreshing and can be made using two methods (boil or juice) and this Tropical Rum Punch for all the island feels, which includes a non-alcoholic recipe as well!

two glasses of jamaican sorrel with ice.
Jamaican Sorrel Drink

Jamaican Sorrel Drink

The festive red colour of Jamaican sorrel drink reminds me of the holidays. A Jamaican Christmas celebration isn’t quite complete without sorrel mixed with Wray & Nephew white rum or red label wine! If you agree, check out my Jamaican Sorrel Cocktail with Sorrel Simple Syrup recipe as well.

Whether you enjoy it as a boozy brew or a sweet refreshing juice, one thing is for certain; you’ll want a refill!

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Easy – boil, simmer, and steep. This recipe is super simple. All you need is a little patience so the flavours can meld together.
  • Great for Entertaining – this sorrel recipe was made for a crowd so share this at your next party or gathering!
  • Versatile – it’s easy to customize so you can make a big batch and then flavour it however you’d like. For instance, you can spike it with rum and make it an adult punch. Or you could designate a non-alcoholic portion for children and non-drinkers.
  • Keeps Well – this sorrel drink can be made at the beginning on the Christmas holidays and last until the new year, once preserved and stored correctly!
fresh sorrel in a white bowl.
Fresh Sorrel

What is Sorrel?

Sorrel, is what many people know as Hibiscus blossoms. They can be prepared from both fresh and dried petals, that are steeped in water infused with root ginger, cinnamon leaves, orange peel and aromatic spices like cinnamon, allspice berries, and ginger for an extended period of time to draw out the flavour. It has a rich natural hue with no artificial colouring. The gorgeous ruby colour makes it especially appetizing.

The History of Sorrel

In Jamaica, sorrel is in season during the winter. That is when the hibiscus plant blossoms. So this explains why Jamaican sorrel drink is so popular during that time of year. However, now you can purchase sorrel dried or fresh year-round.

What Are the Different Names for Sorrel?

Depending on where you are from, or the use of sorrel, you may hear it referred to by the following names:

  • Hibiscus Sabdariffa, the scientific botanical name.
  • Roselle
  • Hibiscus Blossoms
  • Hibiscus Petals
  • Flor de Jamaica
  • Jamaican Sorrel
  • Red Sorrel
  • Florida Cranberry
  • Sour-Sour

What is Jamaican Sorrel Made Of?

Jamaica Sorrel is made from steeped Hibiscus petals. It is then mixed with a variety of other ingredients most commonly Appleton Estate Rum or Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum to create a boastful Christmas holiday drink.

This is not to be confused with “sorrel” the leafy green plant used as a herb or vegetable.

What is the Difference Between Dried Sorrel and Fresh Sorrel?

Fresh sorrel fruit is picked, deseeded, and boiled. Dried sorrel is typically found packaged in supermarkets so it is more commonly used in sorrel recipes. It has a stronger flavour and a deeper colour than fresh sorrel. If you use fresh sorrel, you will need to use more to account for the lighter taste and hue.

What Does Sorrel Taste Like?

On its own, sorrel has a naturally tangy tart, slightly acidic taste. The flavour is similar to cranberry or pomegranate. However, the flavours are rounded out with the root ginger and spices such as allspice berries (pimento berries/seeds). It’s then sweetened with sugar which cause all the flavours balance into a satisfying and refreshing punch.

sun dried sorrel in packaging.
Packaged Sun Dried Sorrel

Is Hibiscus the Same as Sorrel?

Yes, hibiscus and sorrel are the same and refer to the hibiscus sabdariffa flower.

What is Sorrel Used For?

Besides steeping sorrel with aromatics and spices to make this sorrel drink, it can also be used in the following ways:

  • Herbal Teas
  • Extracts
  • Tinctures
  • Supplements
  • Simple Syrup

What is Jamaican Sorrel Good For?

Sorrel has many health benefits and is a rich source of certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is also known to lower blood pressure and have strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

jamaican sorrel ingredient flatlay.
Fresh Sorrel, Allspice (Pimento) Berries, and Ginger

Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

Dried Sorrel

  • Dried Sorrel – this is more commonly used than fresh sorrel and more readily available year-round.
  • Fresh Ginger – if you can get your hands on Jamaican/Caribbean fresh ginger root, opt for this as it has a stronger more pungent flavour and taste. Use a mallet to pound the ginger to allow the flavours to infuse into the drink.
  • Whole Allspice Berries (Pimento Berries/Seeds) a key ingredient in many Jamaican dishes and drinks, this aromatic spice is especially crucial here and should definitely be added.
  • Water – to extract the flavour from the other ingredients and is the base of this drink.

Fresh Sorrel

  • Fresh Sorrel – you can find fresh sorrel in supermarkets mainly around the Christmas holiday season. Ensure you thoroughly rinse these fresh blossoms before steeping.
  • Fresh Ginger – similar to above, try to find ginger imported from the Caribbean, pounded using a mallet if possible.
  • Whole Allspice Berries (Pimento Berries/Seeds) – a key ingredient in many Jamaican dishes and drinks, this aromatic spice is especially crucial here.
  • Water – to extract the flavour from the other ingredients and is the base of this drink.

To Flavour and Sweeten

  • Brown Sugar – this gives the sorrel drink a subtle deep caramel like flavour. Add as much or as little as you prefer and sweeten to taste.
  • White Granulated Sugar – this sugar is sweeter in taste so consider using less to attain your desired taste.
  • J. Wray & Nephew Red Label Wine –  alternatively you can use a sweet red dessert wine or your preferred wine of chouce. This red label wine has notes of candied berries, marzipan, raisins and nutmeg and even hints of dark chocolate
  • Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum – this is a classic Jamaican white rum, use this or your rum of choice.

Optional Add-Ins

  • Orange Peel – add one full orange peel for added flavour.
  • Whole Cloves – use these alongside whole allspice berries for added depth of flavour.

How to Make Jamaican Sorrel Drink

1. Boil, Simmer, then Set

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add ginger, sorrel (dried or fresh), and allspice berries (pimento berries/seeds). Give a stir, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit, covered for 12 hours to overnight.

2. Strain and Sweeten

Strain the sorrel mixture with a fine mesh strainer and discard the sorrel, ginger, and allspice berries. Sweeten with sugar, to taste and add in rum and/or wine.

3. Serve

Serve over ice and garnish with lime/orange wedge or peel, and enjoy.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Optional Add-Ins – consider adding in orange peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fresh mint, star anise, bay leaves, and vanilla extract to name a few.
  • Add Fruit – slice fruit like lemon, lime, oranges, and pineapples and throw them in for a tropical punch.
  • Natural Sweetener – add maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, coconut sugar or honey.

Serving Suggestions and Tips

You can serve Jamaican sorrel drink hot or cold. Traditionally, and how I prefer, is chilled and poured over ice. If you are drinking sorrel, you are probably celebrating something so serve it with a slice of Jamaican Black Cake!

Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Thoroughly Rinse Sorrel – if using fresh sorrel, be sure to rinse it thoroughly and deseed (if applicable) before steeping.
  • Steeping is Important – whether you prefer it sweet or tart, for a deep, satisfying flavour, this step is necessary so don’t rush it. Sorrel can steep for up to 3 days. The longer you steep it, the more tart and boastful it will be. But don’t worry because you can always balance the taste when you add your sweetener.
  • Steeped Sorrel Can Stain – so be careful when handling this drink because it can ruin your clothes or a porous surface.

See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

Yes, prepare sorrel ahead of time. After the mixture is simmered, it needs to sit for at least 12 hours so the flavours have time to infuse the water. So definitely make this at least half a day before you plan to serve.

Storage Instructions

Store sorrel in a closed container or sealed bottle in the fridge and consume within one week. But if it is mixed with alcohol, it can last up to 3 months.

sorrel stored in airtight glass pitcher.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where can I purchase sorrel?

Find it in most Caribbean, African, and Asian markets. But if all else fails, you can order them online. Depending on where you go, the name used may vary. Check under sorrel, hibiscus, or flor de Jamaica.

Is sorrel healthy?

Yes. Sorrel on its own is good for you. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and also promotes the production of antioxidants in the body. Jamaican sorrel drink contains vitamins A and C, calcium, and potassium.

Do I have to add sugar to sorrel?

No. After steeping the sorrel, you can drink it hot, as an herbal tea with or without sugar.

Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

If you’re a lover of spiced drinks, check out my Spiced Autumn Apple Sangria cocktail as well!

jamaican sorrel drink in two glasses with ice.

Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe

This Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe is a sweet, refreshing Caribbean beverage made from hibiscus that's been steeped overnight and infused with the perfect blend of aromatics and spices. Serve this classic and festive hibiscus drink during the Christmas holiday season, New Years or throughout the year with or without rum using dried or fresh sorrel.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Steeping Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 10 mins
Course Christmas, Drinks & Cocktails, Jamaican
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 12 cups
Calories 1419 kcal

Equipment

  • Mallet to pound the fresh ginger
  • Large Pot for steeping the sorrel
  • Fine Mesh Strainer to strain the sorrel, ginger and allspice berries
  • Large Pitcher or airtight bottles to store sorrel

Ingredients
  

Dried Sorrel

  • 1/2 pound Dried Sorrel
  • 5 ounce Fresh Ginger pounded
  • 5 whole Allspice Berries pimento seeds
  • 12 cups Water

Fresh Sorrel

  • 2 pounds Fresh Sorrel thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 pound Fresh Ginger pounded
  • 15 whole Allspice Berries pimento seeds
  • 20 cups Water

To Flavour and Sweeten

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar or sweeten to taste
  • 1 cup White Granulated Sugar or sweeten to taste
  • 1 cup J. Wray & Nephew Red Label Wine or wine of choice
  • 1/4 cup Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum or rum of choice

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1 whole Orange Peel
  • 5-10 whole Cloves

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add ginger, sorrel (dried or fresh), and allspice berries (pimento seeds). Give a stir, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit, covered for 12 hours to overnight.
    sorrel steeping in large pot with ginger and allspice berries.
  • Strain the sorrel mixture with a fine mesh strainer and discard the sorrel, ginger and allspice berries. Sweeten with sugar, to taste and add in rum and/or wine.
    sorrel drinking being strained with a fine mesh strainer.
  • Serve over ice and garnish with lime/orange wedge or peel, and enjoy.
    jamaican sorrel drink in two glasses with ice.

Notes

Yield – simply half the recipe if you prefer a smaller yield, or double for more!
Optional Add-Ins – consider adding in orange peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fresh mint, star anise, bay leaves, and vanilla extract to name a few.
Add Fruit – slice fruit like lemon, lime, oranges, and pineapples and throw them in for a tropical punch.
Natural Sweetener – add maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, coconut sugar or honey.

Nutrition

Calories: 1419kcalCarbohydrates: 261gProtein: 3gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 46mgPotassium: 866mgFiber: 4gSugar: 221gVitamin A: 27IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 2mg
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jamaican sorrel drink.

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