Everytime we go for Caribbean foods in town, I always ask for a bottle of sorrel drink. I just love the flavour and colour; a rich natural maroon colour with a hint of spices.
I have been planning to make this drink one day once I can get either fresh or dried sorrel. Luckily, the Caribbean/Indian store that I usually go for spices grocery was brought fresh sorrel for Christmas season. However, I forgot to buy it, then I decided to come back the next week and the fresh ones have been disappeared. Well, I still found the dried one which was only $2.99 per package (125 g).
Sorrel drink is a Caribbean favourite during the Christmas season. When you visit a Caribbean family or friend’s house at that time, you will get to taste this sorrel drink. The beverage has acidic taste with sweet and spice added.
Special for this holiday edition, I want to share an easy Sorrel Drink recipe with an Indonesian twist. Most recipes call for brown sugar or sugar. I substituted for coconut sugar (gula kelapa/gula merah/gula jawa) which has a lighter colour compare to palm sugar (gula aren/gula palem) and common to be used in Indonesian cooking.
Sorrel or roselle is a Hibiscus sabdariffa and very healthy due to the high contents of vitamin C and anthocyanins. In Indonesia, we call rosella and this plant is still a family of Bunga sepatu (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.)
As I don’t consume any alcohol beverage, I omit the rum and/or wine addition. So feel free to add with wine, vodka or make it Jamaican with rum! This recipe goes to Masbar event “Celebrate”.
Caribbean Sorrel Drink
8 cups (2 L) water
1 cup dried sorrel petals
2 – 4 oz (57 – 113 g) ginger, grated or sliced*
8 pimentos (allspice)
1 piece fresh orange peel (can be substituted for dried one)
coconut sugar syrup [1 cup (237 mL) water + 1 lb (454 g) coconut sugar boiled together]
1. Boil water.
2. Once water is boiling, add sorrel, orange peel and cloves.
3. Boil for 30 minutes.
4. Cover tightly and steep overnight.
5. Strain and add coconut sugar syrup to taste. At this time, you always add any spirits that you like.
6. Chill and serve.
To have strong gingery flavour, you can grate the ginger. But, if you don’t like it too strong, just slice them up.
Store well in the refrigerator. You can also use half the water and then fill up the glass when serving with club soda or Perrier for a fizzy drink.