There’s no Christmas in Jamaica or in lots of components of the Caribbean with out sorrel, a drink that’s infused with spices and historically spiked with white overproof rum. It’s as current at Christmas time as rum cake, curried goat, and rice with pigeon (gungo) peas.
The central ingredient that gives its colour and distinctive taste is the hibiscus sabdariffa plant – not the hibiscus flower we see in our lush gardens – however one other member of the hibiscus household that originated in northern Ghana. Historians consider the plant doubtless traveled to the Caribbean on slave ships, as referenced within the Nationwide Library of Jamaica. The seeds took root, and West African drinks like zobo and bissap grew to become sorrel. At present, Jamaica is essentially the most well-known producer of this model of hibiscus, also called roselle.
The fleshy calyces under the flower that accommodates the seed are used to make the well-known drink, and its November-December harvest interval is probably going what popularized sorrel as a Christmas beverage. The calyces are sun-dried earlier than steeped in boiling water. Unsweetened, sorrel has a pointy, tangy style. Add a bit of sugar and it turns into a refreshingly scrumptious drink that many individuals examine to cranberry juice.
For a few years, sorrel was solely obtainable throughout the holidays, however because the numbers of Jamaicans and different Caribbean nationals dwelling in North America and the U.Ok. grew, the dried sepals grew to become extra available in sure supermarkets and well being meals shops. Many Jamaicans develop the plant of their backyards and a few use it not solely to make the favored Christmas drink, but additionally to chill fevers, treatment colds and decrease blood strain. It’s wealthy in vitamin C and different nutritional vitamins and minerals.
Different Caribbean islands share the sorrel Christmas custom; they embody Montserrat, Barbados, St. Lucia, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica.
Recipes usually embody ginger steeped in boiling water together with the calyces, cinnamon, cloves, sugar and rum. The primary recipe at proper is a conventional Jamaican model discovered on itisakingthing.com. The second is a variation that provides wine. To make it Trinidadian-style, add bay leaf. Naturally, every island has its distinctive recipe for making ready the drink, and if making it from scratch is an excessive amount of for you, bottles of the beverage are normally offered at most Jamaican eating places in Miami right now of 12 months.
TRADITIONAL JAMAICAN SORREL
•13 cups water
•1/3 cup crushed root ginger
•Handful entire Jamaican allspice (aka pimento)
•4 cinnamon sticks
•3 – 4 cups dried hibiscus sabdariffa calyces
•1/2 cup overproof white rum (reminiscent of Wray & Nephew)
•Granulated sugar to style
•In giant pot, deliver water to a boil; add ginger, cloves, allspice and cinnamon sticks.
•Simmer for five minutes, then add calyces; cowl and instantly take away from warmth. Let sit undisturbed 24 hours.
•After 24 hours, pressure liquid, sweeten it to style and stir in rum.
•Retailer sorrel drink in bottles with a decent, safe lid.