A Stunning drink which comes with a pretty vivid color & a taste as good as it looks. The name, the look, the color, the taste - endless appeals. With the warm air already filling in, I am sure this is going to be The Drink for us during the next few months. That absolutely gorgeous color, the slight tang, & only a few easy steps, with may be some lime & a hint of mint & some spices, result in this all engaging & refreshing Flower Tea or a Sorrel Punch!
We were in a Mexican Grocery Store last night when my hubby spotted this little pack which looked like some kind of dried petals, said “Flor de Jamaica” & had the slight tart aroma like cranberry. His brain was already ticking thinking drink. We had to ask the friendly lady at the counter what we need to do with it. All we had to do, she said, was soak these flowers in the water for a couple of hours, mix some sugar, chill it and drink it! We got curious & got it home.
These dried petals happen to be the petals of hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly called “Roselle“. The Herbal Tea made out of these flowers is a very popular drink in Mexico, Central & South America. In the Caribbean however it is traditionally steeped with spices and mixed with rum to create a favorite jewel-colored Christmas drink known as Sorrel Punch. Besides the looks & the color, it is high in Vitamin C too & known to treat hypertension.
Here are some other names that “Roselle” has ….
“The roselle is known as the rosella or rosella fruit in Australia. It is also known as meśta/meshta on the Indian subcontinent, Gongura in Telugu, chin baung in Myanmar, กระเจี๊ยบ’krajeab in Thailand, bissap in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, the Congo and France, dah or dah bleni in other parts of Mali, wonjo in the Gambia, zobo in Nigeria (the Yorubas in Nigeria call the white variety Isapa (pronounced Ishapa)), karkade (كركديه; IPA: ['karkade]) in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, omutete in Namibia, sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America, Flor de Jamaica in Mexico, Saril in Panama, rosela in Indonesia, asam paya or asam susur in Malaysia. In Chinese it is 洛神花 (Luo Shen Hua) .” (Wiki) … more on this flower…
Here it is for you to see….within a few minutes of soaking it, the dried petals started plumping up & releasing this jewel like red color. Another hour later, it was intense red, & tasted slightly tangy.
The process of making Sorrel Punch is much the same as preparing an herbal tea. I have used the recipe from BellaOnline (all the other places I looked had similar procedures). This recipe asks for a couple of days of steeping, which produces a deep flavor, and then the punch stands for another two days after the rum is added. The end result obviously is a gorgoeous, intoxicating drink full of Tropical Flavors… Bring it on, let the Island Air hum & buzz….
To make the Sorrel Punch:
- 2 cups dried sorrel flowers
- 1/4 cup fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 cups water
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups over-proof Jamaican rum (or any of your favorite dark rum)
- Lemon, lime and orange slices, for garnish
In a large, heat-proof bowl, combine the sorrel, the ginger, the cinnamon stick the cloves and the sugar. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the sorrel, spices and sugar. Allow the mixture to cool. Cover the bowl and let and let the punch steep for two days.
Strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth and return the liquid to the bowl.
Stir in the rum. Cover once more and allow the mixture to stand for two more days.
Strain the punch a final time and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Serve the Sorrel Punch over glasses full of crushed ice, with garnishes of lemon, lime and orange slices. (During the holidays, this is accompanied with a slice of Fruit Cake)
If you do not want the Rum, just have the Refreshing Tea.
To make the TEA:
- 1/2 Cup Dried Flower of Jamaica
- 4 Cups water
- 1/3 Cup Sugar (more or less)
- Lime & Fresh Mint (Optional)
Soak the dried flowers in the water for about 2 hours. (OR boil 2 cups of water, steep the flowers in the water for about 20 minutes. Strain the flowers out & add the other 2 cups of water to the colored water)
Strain out the flowers. Add sugar to the water.
Chill & serve it over Ice.
Garnish with Lime ( or squeeze a few drops of lime juice if you want to more tangy) & mint.
I could go on & on about how this looks & tastes. With the Caribbean Breeze bouncing & blowing everywhere now, I really feel like I need a break- feel the warm sun on my eyes & the waves on my feet…drinking the Punch without a care. Folks please do get yourself some of these dried flowers & make yourself some pretty Flower Tea or even a Sorrel Punch in Spring. You will not regret.