Sorrel punch is a traditional beverage that is served during the Christmas and Holiday Season in the Caribbean.In Nigeria, where sorrel probably originated, the spicy drink is called zobo.
The punch is composed mainly of dried hibiscus flowers — known as sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa), in Jamaica and not to be confused with the pungent green perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (Rumex acetosa), — can be found in most Caribbean, Asian or Latin markets. In Latin markets hibiscus flowers are known as jamaica, and so is the beverage. In West Africa the flowers are known as roselle or bissap.
For me sorrel can be enjoyed anytime of the year during a brunch or during the summer months with jerk chicken or some backyard barbecue, with friends in tow!
Yields about 9 cups
2 cups dried hibiscus petals
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup ginger, coarsely chopped
1 orange, freshly peeled
6 allspice pods
2 cups sugar
2 quarts boiling water
¾ cup white rum (optional)
Lime wedges, for garnish
Orange slices, for garnish
1. In a large stoneware crock or a stainless steel stockpot, combine the hibiscus petals, cinnamon stick, ginger, orange peel, cloves, allspice and sugar. Pour boiling water atop, cover, and steep at room temperature for 2-3 days.
2. Strain the liquid. If you are making the punch with alcohol, add the rum in this step. Cover and refrigerate for another 2 days.
3. Serve over crushed ice in pre-chilled glasses. Garnish with lime wedges or orange slices.
For a spritzer, fill a glass 1/3 full with punch and top off with sparkling water.
Sorrel Punch may also be mixed with rum and lime for an afternoon cocktail.