Toast These Warm, Sunny Days With An Ice-Cold Glass Of Sorrel

Good god, sorrel is amazing. If you've never experienced the floral, spicy splendor of this hibiscus iced tea drink, read more about its rich culinary history here. It's a refreshing beverage often associated with the Caribbean, but as Rosalind Cummings-Yeates points out, it traces its roots to West Africa:

Women [in Ghana] soak the plant and make batches of it to sell as a thirst quencher throughout the day. It's popular throughout the region and called bissap in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso; in Nigeria, it's zobo. The hibiscus flower is native to West Africa and it has been used as a cooling drink for centuries. Today West African descendants have made the drink from the hibiscus sepal a popular libation everywhere, but especially in Jamaica, where it's so integral that hibiscus is called flor de Jamaica (pronounced ha-mīka) all over Latin America.

If you're already acquainted with the delights of sorrel, then you've probably found your mind wandering to it while cooped up in quarantine, dreaming of a beautiful sunshiny day where you could lounge in the warm, fresh air while sipping a tall glass of ruby red bliss. Well, my friends, those warmer days have finally arrived. Make yourself a bottle of sorrel concentrate, keep it in the fridge, and make your summer—and your entire life, really—exponentially better.


Sorrel

  • 6 cups water
  • 5 hibiscus tea bags
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1" nub fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. allspice berries
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • Simple syrup, if desired
  • First, make sorrel concentrate: place all ingredients (except the simple syrup) in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for at least two hours before straining into a container. To serve, mix one part sorrel concentrate with two parts cold water, a few ice cubes, some simple syrup if you'd like your sorrel to be sweet, and perhaps a slice of lime or candied ginger to garnish, if you're feeling fancy.

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