What’s Cooking: Jamaican Sorrel

Last year I told you about Jamaican rum cake, a popular food to eat during the holidays.  Today I will tell you about another Jamaican specialty – Sorrel.  This is the most popular drink served during Christmas and New Years on the island and in Jamaican diasporic communities worldwide.  Sorrel is made out of a hibiscus flower grown on many Caribbean islands and was most likely brought to the New World from West Africa, where it is referred to as roselle or Zobo.

I currently use this more simplified version the recipe for making sorrel, like for the dinner party I hosted for friends and colleagues last weekend.  I borrowed the recipe from Jamaicans.com.


  • 1 pound sorrel
  • 2-4 oz. ginger
  • 2 quarts water
  • sugar
  • wine or Jamaican White Rum (optional)
  • 8-12 pimento grains


  1. Wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it from the water.
  2. Put into a stainless steel container.
  3. Scrape and wash ginger. Grate and Add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains.
  4. Boil water and pour over sorrel.
  5. Allow standing 4-6 hours. Strain.
  6. Sweeten to taste and add rum to taste.
  7. Add optional wine.
  8. Serve with ice cubes.