“Sorrel, that’s interesting.” We’ve heard this a few times, but it tends to be the wrong plant which people are referring to. Not to be confused with the European leafy green plant, which would be intriguing in drink form, sorrel is what British Caribbean people call hibiscus. There are over 200 species, so the one in discussion is hibiscus sabdariffa.
There are two types of this plant - one that sprouts white flowers and one that sprouts crimson coloured flowers - the latter is more widely available. The calyx of this hibiscus plant, a pod that forms once the flowers blossoming season is over, is what’s used to make herbal teas and soft drinks around the world.
BENEFITS & USES
The drink is made by infusion and notorious for its vitamin C content and ability to lower blood pressure. Alone it possesses a strong, bitter and rich taste so it is often sweetened. The crimson colour is vibrant and alluring and can be used as a natural food colouring.
Due to its global popularity, sorrel has many names and is of significant use in many cultures. For example, In Iraq, hibiscus tea is called Chai Kujarat. If someone gives it to you when you are visiting them, it symbolises that you are someone special. Similarly, across the Caribbean it allows families to connect and create special moments at Christmas when the flowers are in season. Below is a list of countries and what sorrel is called.
Latin America & Spanish Caribbean – Flor de Jamaica
Ghana – Bissap
Gambia – Wonjo
Nigeria – Zobo
Haiti - Rose Kayenn
Australia - Roselle
Egypt - Karkade
This incredible flower is used around the world to make this delicious drink in many variations. Its deep crimson colour, tart rich taste and health properties are what makes it such fabulous drink.
Our drinks put a spin on the traditional Jamaican recipe, combining sorrel with elderberry, agave nectar, citrus juice and spices – the latter makes it akin to a non-alcoholic mulled wine. Click here to view product.