Drynuary weekend project: Grenadian Sorrel Drink
Last year, I discovered Sorel, the delicious hibiscus liqueur made by Jack From Brooklyn. Little did I know that there’s also a native Caribbean concoction known as sorrel drink.
Traditionally a holiday drink, it’s made from sorrel flowers, which I didn’t realize was another name for hibiscus in the Caribbean. The sorrel drink is non-alcoholic, can be served hot or cold, and can be tarted up with ginger ale or rum to make it festive.
I was lucky enough to have someone bring me fresh sorrel leaves from Grenada recently, so I decided to make some sorrel drink for Drynuary. Using an amalgam of recipes I found online and the guidance of my sorrel source, here’s what I came up with.
- About 1/2 lb. fresh sorrel flowers, rinsed and dried
- About 1 dozen cloves
- 6 thick slices fresh ginger
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
I rinsed and dried the fresh sorrel flowers in cold water, and added them to about 8 cups of water in a large pot (about 1/2 of a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart dutch oven). Cranking the heat to high, I added the rest of the spices and ingredients and brought the whole thing to a boil, stirring once or twice. I let it boil for about 4 minutes, then removed from heat and covered. The aroma was all warmth and cinnamon and clove. It steeped for about 3 hours, but you are advised that you could let it steep overnight (if you can wait that long). I couldn’t.
I strained out the leaves and spices, and the result was a ruby red, opaque liquid, like red grapefruit juice. By itself, it’s tart with a bit of a bitter aftertaste: you are advised to sweeten to taste before serving. About 1/2 tsp. of cane sugar helped, and I ended up serving it over ice with about 6 oz. of sparkling water and a wedge of lemon. It was festive, refreshing and delicious.
I’ve got almost 64 oz. of it left, so I plan to experiment with ginger ale, additional sweeteners like simple syrup, and (if it holds until the end of Drynuary, which I doubt), rum.
In the meantime, it’s a terrific little concoction that I’m definitely adding to my bag of tricks. Now all I need is a steady source of sorrel.