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Friday Happy Hour: Sorrel and Rum is a Recipe for Holiday Cheer

Friday Happy Hour: Sorrel and Rum is a Recipe for Holiday Cheer
Caribbean Sorrel Christmas Drink
Caribbean Sorrel Christmas Drink

There are a lot of traditions in the Caribbean around Christmas. So, although Steve already said the holidays just aren’t right without ponche de creme or black cake, they also aren’t the same without sorrel.

In fact, sorrel is one of my favorite flavors associated with the holiday season. There’s the cinnamon (scientifically proven to be the most Christmas-y smell in existence), the cloves, the ginger, brown sugar and, of course, the sorrel itself. For those unaware, West Indian sorrel is different from the sorrel you may have heard of in Europe. It’s related to the hibiscus flower immortalized on a million tasteless tropical shirts, but with flowers of a different shape, that actually grow from a different part of the plant and, contrary to those shirts, is quite nice.

Dried Caribbean Sorrel Flowers by Patrick Bennett
Dried Caribbean Sorrel Flowers by Patrick Bennett

So, how do you  cook up a batch for yourself? It’s actually easy. (The hardest part might be finding dried flowers, or if you’re lucky, fresh sorrel in your area.) Here’s a recipe we found on The West Indian Shop:

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dried sorrel flowers
  • 1/4 cup fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • Lemon, lime and orange slices, for garnish

In a large, heat-proof crock or bowl, combine the sorrel, the ginger, the cinnamon stick the cloves and the sugar. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the sorrel, spices and sugar. Allow the mixture to cool. Cover the crock or bowl and let the punch steep for two days.

Strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth and return the liquid to the crock or bowl.

Strain the punch a final time and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Then comes our favorite part: add rum to taste!

The complete concoction is an aromatic, festively red brew with just the right amount of rum and guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit whether it’s 90º outside, or, in my case here in New York, 33º.

Happy holidays, indeed!

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