Sorrel Drink – A Festive Jamaican Recipe

In Jamaica, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a sorrel drink and Christmas cake. Both have rum in them … yes, we like our rum during the holidays! The sorrel flower is in full bloom at Christmastime in Jamaica so that’s one of the reasons it’s a traditional holiday favourite. It has a deep red colour and unique flavour enhanced with spices, lemon juice and rum. You can omit the rum, but I personally think it tastes better with it. For this recipe you can use fresh or dried sorrel. I use dried sorrel, which is easier to find where I live. If you’re lucky enough to find fresh sorrel just double the amount you use for this recipe.

Ingredients for this Sorrel Drink

2 ½ cups dried sorrel
3 oz fresh ginger, grated
5 pimento berries
10 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup white rum

Makes 10 cups


1. Place sorrel, ginger and pimento berries in a large pot or mixing bowl
2. Pour boiling water over the ingredients; stir and place in fridge overnight to steep
3. Using a large strainer, pour the steeped liquid into another container; use a spoon to squeeze more liquid out of the sorrel
4. Add sugar, lemon juice and rum to sorrel and stir until sugar has dissolved

Enjoy over ice

Tip: To prevent if from fermenting, store sorrel drink in the fridge or cold cellar.

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Comments (16)
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  • Keisha

    Thank you for all your recipes! I think you have such a sweet soul.

    How long does it keep in the fridge?

  • Dawn

    As a British born to Jamaican parents, I’ve learned through watching mommy how to cook many things but not all recipes were covered! And I have always thought that the best way to teach cooking is to ‘watch and learn’ so I am SO happy to have found your website and youtube page. I’m looking forward to attempting many of the recipes with my children.

  • jenny

    Hi Faye,

    I feel so Blessed to have found your website. I love trying out new dishes & being from St.Lucia in the Caribbean, there are some dishes that Jamaicans do differently.
    I will try as many recipes, as possible & provide you with feedback.
    You look & sound like a sweet soul.
    God Bless!!!!

  • Jessica

    Thank you much for your recipes, especially this one. I am first generation American and learning how to cook Jamaican. I want my Jamaican dishes to be a staple during the holidays for my fiancé and son. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Nicole

    Hi Faye,

    This may be an abomination to ask, however I’m Seventh-Day Adventist and don’t drink alcohol. I know some of the ladies at our church make a version of this without the rum, but I don’t know what the substitute would be. Can I make it without it? Can you recommend a substitution for the rum? Club soda? Sparkling water?

    • Cook Like A Jamaican

      Hi Nicole,
      No need to substitute. This recipe tastes as good without alcohol. Fay

  • Kerene

    Hi mommy,
    I’m so glad to have found your website, I am jamaican born but was given away to Germans who have passed I live in canada now and I am trying to accrue as much of my heritage as I can, I made my first rum cake with your recipe and it turned out a 100 times better than the ones that I use to pay so much money for. Made my sorrel and by Gods grace my children and I will have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you so much and I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

  • Michelle Parson

    I am a very lucky girl in that my Dad grows sorrel where he lives in Florida. He dries it and sends me a batch to London, England. This year it was a little late for Christmas day but I made some up for the weekend. After trying different techniques and quantities of ginger to sorrel, I now have the perfect blend. Sorrel is one of my family’s favourite drinks and I love tp make plenty to share with my friends and give bottles of sorrel as presents.

  • oloche

    thank you GOD for the great heart given to You! Ma what can i do to preserve the drink for about a year with refrigerating? Can I carbonate it? I really want to do a research on it, i believe You would help to a great extend!

    • Fay & Angela

      If you want it to last longer do not put sugar in it until you’re ready to drink it. That way it will last in the fridge for a few weeks or longer. Otherwise it will eventually turn to vinegar. To carbonate just mix with ginger ale or soda water.

  • Ricky

    How lovely to come across your video and website. I was searching for a recipe to pass on to a Spanish friend who had been introduced to ‘ague de jamaica’ by a Mexican. Such a pity that she hadn’t had the ‘real thing’ from me :-). I have sent her your link and will now introduce her to your website. I am a Jamaican living in Europe and my family and friends always, always appreciate Jamaican cuisine. I prefer your home cooking to all those fancy cookbooks that are available. Somehow they are never as authentic as what you provide here. By the way, I never subscribe or write comments on the wider internet but am so moved by your contribution that I just had to make an exception. May you continue to be blessed abundantly

  • Linda

    Can’t wait to make my first batch of Sorrel drink with your recipe. My jamaican mother in law freezes sorrel drink in tubs. Not too long out of the freezer (in jamaican heat!) she scrapes it and serves, the most delicious ‘slushy’ ever. Oh and she adds white wine AND white rum to her recipe, I’m just not certain of her quantities.

  • Judy

    I knew if I came to you I would find the recipe for Sorrell!! God bless you for all you do for us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  • Michael

    Thanks for your wonderful recipes. You just saved our sorrel from fermenting. I am currently in Atlanta Georgia and was privileged to have gotten sorrel drink for Christmas. However, we did not know what to do to save some and was unable to call home (Jamaica). Thanks a million. You are doing a fantastic job guys. I love your videos!

  • nadine

    Hello Miss Fay,You are my new mom, I came to the US as a teenager which robbed me of any real cooking skills. Thank you so much for your recipe with Jamaican ex-pat like myself. It was love at first sight. May the good Lord continue to bless and keep you.

  • Donna

    I actually kept my last bottle in the fridge for 1 year (last Chritmas!) and we had some on the weekend. It was even better!