Cocktail Hour: Spiced Rum and Sorrel

Sorrel cocktail #rum #caribbean #sailing #cruising #recipe #cocktail

Floral and acidic like cranberry, sorrel is brewed as a tea around Christmas time in the Caribbean. I first learned about this Hibiscus relative in St. John’s, Antigua at the public market. An elderly woman gave me seeds and some deep red, nearly-dried flowers. The seeds were to take home, and she said my whole neighborhood would have enough sorrel to share with what she had given me which was just a handful of pods. She told me the sorrel drink at Christmas involved spices and because of its harvest in late October, it would be dried by just before Christmas.

Of course I did the crazy thing and hid them in the bottom of my bag coming through customs. Come and get me.

I also got this bag of dried sorrel later on a stop in Road Town, Tortola, hoping to be able to brew a good amount of it when I got home. The seeds would require a tropical environment to sprout- we gave it a college try in Maine this past summer but alas, didn’t get any sorrel plants out of it. Since it’s basically Hibiscus, it was a long shot.

So here’s the drink:

1 oz spiced rum, or your favorite rum

7 oz sorrel tea

lime wedge


Brew the sorrel tea first. Boiling water over a tea bag with 3 or 4 tbsp of sorrel should do it. On MIMI ROSE I do this in a big water bottle, as it’s got a good, secure lid on it. Wait for the tea to cool down before putting it in the ice box.

So you’ve got your cup, you nearly fill it with ice. Delicately and exuberantly splash your ounce of rum over that ice, pour the extracted sorrel over it, squeeze the lime, then tumble back and forth once between two cups.

I like to do this drink icy, but you could do it warm-ish too. Heck, you could do a hot tea drink if it’s chilly. Warm rum is fantastic.

I think I could also envision putting some whole clove and some cinnamon bark in with the tea to really kick up the spice in the drink. Got a packet of mulling spices? Sounds good, put it into the tea bag with the sorrel. Essentially you’re balancing brown sugar rum flavors with tart sorrel tea flavor and you can experiment with spice to your taste- so go to town with it and make it your own.

Have you seen sorrel drink before? Have you seen it prepared other ways? I’d love to know more about this beautiful red elixir!

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