Spring is in the air and it’s finally started to warm up here in Toronto. The shift in weather makes me want to sit outdoors with a cool, refreshing drink. I’ve been making kombucha and water kefir all winter, and today I felt like a change of beverage. Bring on the sorrel!
Sorrel, as it’s called in the Caribbean, is also known as Hibiscus sabdariffa, not to be confused with the Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Both have a sour/acidic flavour and have health benefits. In this post I’ll be talking about Hibiscus sabdariffa.
In the Caribbean sorrel is often served around Christmas and is sometimes (okay, often) paired with rum.
When I was in Trinidad last year I visited the local market a few times to stock up on fresh produce. I spent time wandering, talking & taking photos and came across a small vendor with piles of dried sorrel on his table. After a nice chat I wandered off with a bag of sorrel, some irish moss and his very detailed instructions on how to make both (he wanted to make sure that I knew the right way).
You don’t need to go all the way to Trinidad to get some sorrel. Most Caribbean markets will carry packaged, dried sorrel year-round and sometimes they will have fresh around Christmas. Alternatively look for hibiscus tea online or in your local health food store.
Not only is sorrel a delicious beautiful, bright beverage, it contains vitamin C, diuretic properties and contains antioxidants. It’s great on it’s own, as a base for smoothies or with a splash of rum!
- ½ cup dried sorrel or 2 hibiscus tea bags
- 2 cups water
- 1 inch slice of ginger
- ½ tsp ground clove or 1 whole clove
- sweetener of choice (ie honey, coconut sugar, coconut nectar)
- Place dried sorrel and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add spices and stir to incorporate.
- Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain out the sorrel leaves (or remove the tea bags).
- Pour into a glass pitcher and refrigerate.
- To serve, add ½ cup of sorrel to ½ cup cold water, add sweetener to taste, pour over ice and enjoy!
- Optional: A splash of rum can be added for a little extra oomph.
You can add additional spices to taste. Suggestions: star anise, allspice, cinnamon.
You can steep for a longer period of time, even up to overnight.