While sorrel grows everywhere in Trinidad, it's an unusual garden plant especially in the United States. If you are lucky enough to find fresh sorrel, then by all means, use it. But most likely, the sorrel you'll be able to procure will be of the dried variety at a caribbean market since sorrel drink is also common to Jamaica. If you can't find either fresh or dried, then dried hibiscus is a good substitute.
What lends this drink it's holiday zing is the combination of spices like cinnamon and cloves, which you can adjust to taste. While it would be nice to make a truly authentic drink, we've opted to replace vanilla extract for "mixed essence", a common Caribbean artificial flavoring hard-to-find elsewhere. If you're feeling ambitious you can make it from scratch, but since our recipe only calls for a minimal amount, we didn't think it'd be missed too much. One more thing. We've included a modification to make an adult version of the drink for your holiday festivities. Cheers!
8 ounce dried sorrel
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, peeled and peel reserved
1/2 lime, zested
12 whole cloves
1-12 cups water
1-1/2 cups suger, (turbinado is commonly used, but refined will make for a brighter red color)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, sliced for garnish
1 lime, sliced for garnish
For the grown-up version:
1/4 cup rum
Large non-corrosive pot
Pitcher or glass jars for finished sorrel drink
- Add water to pot and bring to boil.
- When water comes to a rolling boil, add sorrel, sugar, cinnamon sticks, lime zest, orange peel, and cloves.
- Stir mixture for one minute while boiling.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. If making grown-up version, add rum and stir.
- Cover mixture and let steep for a minimum of 2 hours but up to overnight for a more intense flavor.
- When sorrel drink reaches your desired potency, strain through fine sieve into jars or pitcher.
- Serve over ice and garnish with lime or lemon slices.
Serves 6-8 people.