Deliciously tart and bright, this Jamaican Sorrel Drink served on the rocks is a great treat to cool off on hot summer days. Warmly spiced and packed with fruity, floral notes, it’s the perfect icy drink.
Easy Jamaican Hibiscus Drink
Tangy and refreshing, this Jamaican sorrel is packed with warm spices and tropical flavors. Served on the rocks, every sip will feel like a floral, fruity, citrusy trip to your favorite Caribbean country. Best of all, it’s ready in 15 minutes! Minus the chill time.
Once the cinnamon, cloves, and other spices have made friends in the pot, it’s only minutes before you’re chilling and serving this traditional Jamaican hibiscus punch. Spike the drink with some rum, or add a black tea bag to make things more interesting.
Sweetened with dark brown sugar, it’s got all the molasses-like attitude of typical Caribbean sweeteners— but you can always add a little sugar cane too! Garnished with orange wedges for a pop of color, this bright red drink will become a favorite at every gathering, whether Christmas or summer.
What is Sorrel Juice?
Sorrel juice, also called Jamaican hibiscus punch, is a popular spiced drink in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries from Christmas to New Year’s Eve. It’s a seasonal drink, although the ingredients to make it are available year-round.
It’s made with sorrel (dried hibiscus flowers) and a combination of warm spices like star anise, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Traditional sweeteners like dark brown sugar or cane sugar are used for sweetness.
For this Jamaican sorrel, I’ve used a mix of whole and ground spices for the easiest hibiscus punch possible. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient amounts.
- Orange peel
- Dried hibiscus: There is no substitute for this since it’s where the drink’s flavor comes from. If you can’t find it at the grocery store, you can almost always find it in Mexican supermarkets under the name “jamaica.”
- Star anise: Don’t use ground star anise.
- Whole cloves: Don’t use ground cloves.
- Ground allspice
- Ground cinnamon: You can also use 1/2 a cinnamon stick.
- Ground ginger: Feel free to substitute it for a 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger.
- Dark brown sugar: Raw honey, piloncillo, and coconut sugar are great substitutes. If possible, avoid white granulated sugar.
- Orange wedges: Apple or pineapple wedges are good garnish options, too.
How to Make Sorrel Drink
Don’t worry; making Jamaican sorrel is as easy as making tea or an infusion.
- Add the peel. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the orange peel and reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the hibiscus. Combine the hibiscus, star anise, whole cloves, and allspice in the pot. Stir and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Place the cinnamon and ginger inside. Mix to combine.
- Add the sugar. Stir in the brown sugar to taste and mix until it has fully dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
- Strain it. Strain the punch to remove the spices, hibiscus, and orange peel. Pour it into a large pitcher or an airtight container.
- Chill it. Let it rest for 30 minutes or until it comes down to room temperature. It can also be lukewarm, but not hot, or the ice will melt when you serve it. Don’t refrigerate it before it’s completely cooled.
- Serve. Add ice to serving glasses and pour in the punch. Garnish with orange wedges, and enjoy.
Recipe Tips & Variations
Follow these tips and variations to make extremely yummy Jamaican sorrel:
- Let it sit. If you’d like an extra concentrated spice flavor, don’t strain it. Let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate it as usual. Leaving in the spices for longer will allow them to release more flavor. Strain before serving.
- Spike it. Add white rum to taste and give your drink a little boozy kick. I recommend 1/2 tablespoon of rum in each serving to keep things from becoming overwhelming.
- Add tea. Add a black tea bag while the punch is simmering for an infusion-like drink. Remove it when you strain everything.
- Freeze it. Pour the cooled sorrel into ice cube trays. Freeze it overnight. Blend the ice cubes to make a frappuccino-like drink or even a shaved ice snack.
- Add sugar cane. Chopping a 7″ piece of sugar cane into smaller pieces and adding them to the punch as it simmers can also add lots of natural sweetness and give you something to bite on while enjoying the drink.
Should Jamaican Hibiscus Punch Be Served Warm or Cold?
Traditional Jamaican sorrel is served chilled over ice for a refreshing drink. However, it’s also great when served warm on chilly nights. Give it a go!
How to Store Jamaican Sorrel
- Once cooled, refrigerate this Jamaican sorrel in an airtight container or a pitcher for up to 5 days. If using a pitcher, keep it covered and away from strong-smelling foods like onions to avoid the transfer of odors.
- If, at any point before the five days, it begins to foam or turns slightly viscous, discard it immediately.
More Refreshing Drink Recipes
Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized pot set over medium-high heat. Add the orange peel and reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer for 2 minutes.
Stir in the hibiscus, star anise, whole cloves, and allspice into the pot. Stir and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the cinnamon and ginger, and mix to combine.
Whisk in the brown sugar and mix until it has fully dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the punch to remove the spices, hibiscus, and orange peel. Then, pour the drink into a large glass pitcher or an airtight container.
Let it rest for 30 minutes or until it comes down to room temperature.
Add ice to drinking glasses and pour the punch over the ice.
Garnish with orange wedges and serve.
- Dried Hibiscus is the star of the drink, so if you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can get it from Amazon or see if they have it at your nearest import/export stores.
- Brown Sugar: You can substitute with raw honey, piloncillo, and coconut sugar. Avoid using granulated sugar.
- For a more concentrated flavor, refrigerate the drink without straining out the spices. Leaving the spices in the drink for longer will allow them to release more flavor—strain before serving.
- Alcohol: For a boozy drink, add white rum.
Calories: 74 kcal | Carbohydrates: 19 g | Protein: 0.1 g | Fat: 0.1 g | Saturated Fat: 0.01 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03 g | Sodium: 23 mg | Potassium: 51 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 17 g | Vitamin A: 190 IU | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 39 mg | Iron: 0.4 mg | Net Carbs: 18 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.