Refreshing Jamaican Sorrel Recipe

After a particularly long, tiring, or sweaty day, there's nothing like sitting down with a frosty ice-cold glass of something sweet, refreshing, and maybe a little tart. Plain water or seltzer hits the spot for some, but others are on the constant lookout for a new fun drink to enjoy. There are classics like lemonade, iced tea, and soda, but those can get a little mundane over time. Sorrel, a Jamaican drink with a deep red hue made from dried hibiscus flowers with notes of sweet citrus and cinnamon, may just be the thirst quencher you're looking for. Plus, hibiscus contains antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure (via Healthline).

Catherine Brookes' recipe for Jamaican sorrel (also known as roselle juice) is simple to whip up and will yield a whole pitcher's worth of the ruby beverage. It's perfect for entertaining guests or simply making a week's worth of refreshments for your household. "This drink is often served around Christmas time but can be enjoyed at any time. It's great served alongside a sweet snack such as a cookie or cake," Brookes says. Here's how to make it.

Assemble your ingredients for this refreshing Jamaican sorrel recipe

To make this drink, you'll need dried hibiscus leaves (aka Jamaican sorrel, not the leafy green also called sorrel), cinnamon sticks, orange peel, ginger root, and sugar. You might have to run to the store to pick up some of these ingredients as they may not all be pantry staples, but dried components like cinnamon and sorrel will stay good for a while if you end up with extra.

Though it may seem tempting to use ground ginger for convenience's sake, "I would recommend using fresh ginger here as it will give the drink more flavor," Brookes notes.

Simmer the ingredients

Let's make some Jamaican sorrel! Start by boiling plenty of water in a big pot. Once it's bubbling away, bring it to a simmer and toss in the hibiscus, orange peel, ginger, and cinnamon stick, and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Steep, strain, and sweeten

After your liquid is good and simmered, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for two hours at room temperature. "Leaving the mixture to steep is an important step in this recipe. It allows all the flavors to really develop and come together," Brookes explains. Once you've done that, strain it until there are no more solid bits left, then mix in the sugar until dissolved.

Sip a glass of refreshing Jamaican sorrel

That's all you need to do to make a pitcher of refreshing Jamaican sorrel. Serve it over ice on a warm day — preferably paired with a tasty snack, because why not? Everyone will be happy, whether it's the holidays (when the drink is traditionally enjoyed) or not. 

"This will keep well in the fridge up to 5 days," Brookes says — and if you run out, you know how easy it is to make more.

Refreshing Jamaican Sorrel Recipe
5 from 33 ratings
This refreshing Jamaican sorrel recipe will satisfy your thirst with its sweet and tangy flavor. Keep a pitcher at the ready in your refrigerator to enjoy.
Prep Time
Cook Time
glass of sorrel with ice
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange, just the peel
  • 3 inch chunk of ginger, grated
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and add the hibiscus, cinnamon, orange peel, and ginger.
  3. Stir well and leave to bubble for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, cover, and leave to steep for 2 hours at room temperature.
  5. Strain the solids through a sieve and discard.
  6. Gradually add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  7. Store in the fridge until serving.
Calories per Serving 162
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 39.0 g
Sodium 13.4 mg
Protein 0.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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