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Sipping the Season: A Festive Tradition with Sorrel – The Caribbean Christmas Elixir

As the holiday season unfolds, the Caribbean comes alive with a symphony of vibrant colors, joyful celebrations, and the tantalizing aroma of traditional Christmas treats. One such festive delight that graces many tables during this time is Sorrel, a refreshing and tangy beverage made from the vibrant red calyx of the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant. Join us on a journey through the rich tradition of Sorrel, a Caribbean Christmas drink that not only quenches the thirst but also adds a burst of flavor to the season's festivities.

Sorrel Drink Recipe

The Story Behind Sorrel:

Sorrel has been a staple in Caribbean households for generations, tracing its roots back to West Africa. Brought to the Caribbean by African slaves, this crimson elixir quickly became intertwined with Christmas celebrations, symbolizing warmth, togetherness, and the spirit of giving. Let's dive into this incredible sorrel/hibiscus drink recipe.


To prepare this delectable Christmas drink, you'll need:

  1. 2 cups dried sorrel petals

  2. 10-12 cups water

  3. 2 cups granulated sugar (adjust to taste)

  4. 1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

  5. 10-12 pimento seeds (allspice)

  6. 1 orange peel

  7. 1 cinnamon stick

  8. Rum or wine (optional, for an adult twist)


  1. Prepare the Sorrel Petals: Rinse the dried sorrel petals under cold water to remove any dust or debris. Place the sorrel petals in a large bowl.

  2. Boil the Sorrel: In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the sorrel petals in the bowl. Allow the sorrel to steep for at least 4-6 hours or overnight for a richer flavor.

  3. Add Flavors: After steeping, strain the sorrel liquid into a pot, discarding the sorrel petals. Add the sugar, ginger, pimento seeds, orange peel, and cinnamon stick to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

  4. Simmer: Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the drink to thicken slightly.

  5. Cool and Strain: Allow the sorrel mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain the liquid to remove any solids, and refrigerate until chilled.

  6. Serve: Pour the chilled sorrel into glasses over ice. For an adult version, add a splash of rum or wine.


  • For a lighter punch, use less rum or dilute with additional water or sparkling water.

  • For a stronger sorrel/hibiscus flavor, steep the sepals overnight in water before simmering.

  • This punch can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

Sorrel embodies the spirit of Caribbean Christmas, bringing people together with its bold flavor and vibrant hue. Whether enjoyed with family and friends or sipped solo by the fireplace, this traditional drink adds a touch of warmth and festivity to the season. So, this Christmas, raise your glass to the tradition of Sorrel and savor the unique flavors that make this Caribbean elixir a true holiday gem. Cheers to a season filled with joy, love, and the rich taste of Sorrel!

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