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Cayman Christmas Sorrell Drink

This is an old-time West Indian Christmastime drink in Cayman. Some claim it helps fight the flu and cures fevers too. Our sorrel is actually a kind of hibiscus plant that blooms once a year in late fall. In December, you’ll find packages of dried blossoms that look like rose buds for sale in local supermarkets. Many people like to make enough to keep bottles hidden away for special occasions year-round. It makes a nice punch even if you don’t add rum.


  • 4 cups dried sorrel sepals (flowers)
  • 2 pieces cinnamon stick or 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 12 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • White or light rum to taste, if desired


Remove the seeds from the sorrel and place sorrel, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sugar in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Cool and let stand, loosely covered, for two or three days at room temperature.
Strain the liquid into another container, discard the solids and add rum if desired.

Let sit, covered, for two days longer to age. Makes about 2 quarts. Store in refrigerator and serve chilled over.

(From “Miss Cleo’s Cayman Kitchen: Treasured Recipes from East End,” re-printed in 2012)


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