Sorrel Drink

Sorrel Drink

Sorrel is consumed as part as Christmas tradition in Barbados although you can drink it all year round. Bajans love to drink sorrel but we are often unaware of its health benefits. It was revealed that sorrel could kill certain types of cancer cells. In Barbados ginger ale or falernum is added to the sorrel to give it a smooth taste. Don't feel left out if you are not an alcohol lover because the amount of rum added is discretionary.

Sorrel is a close relative to the European sorrel. The European sorrel is a green leaf vegetable which is used in salads, soups or stews. However the sorrel used to make the drink is a deep red sorrel and is an annual plant instead of a perennial one. Also like the tamarind it has an acidic taste.

Traditionally in Barbados sorrel was a home made drink but now it is sold commercially by Barbados Bottling Company (BBC).

It can be said that the sorrel drink was perfected by one of our own by the name of Senator Carmeta Fraser. Mrs. Fraser was a dignitary in Barbados in the early 1990s. She had a radio program and even books about growing and eating local foods. Hence her motto "Let’s eat what we grow, grow what we eat" and the ever popular "Food comes first" which is still heard in many households in Barbados to this day. Unfortunately Mrs. Fraser passed on a few years later but her legacy continues. Here is the recipe for sorrel made by Senator Carmeta Fraser.

• 2 cups of dried sorrel

• 3 whole cloves

• 1 ½ tablespoons of grated orange zest

• 1 ½ grated fresh ginger

• 2 quarts of boiling water

• 1 cup of sugar ( ½ cup more if you’ve got a serious sweet tooth)

Place the sorrel and the other ingredients except for the sugar in a large crock or ceramic jug. Pour the boiling water over all and let it steep in a warm, dry place for 48 hours. Strain and add the sugar. Refrigerate for another 48 hours. Serve over ice, a wedge of lime, and an ounce (or two) of rum definitely enhances the drink's Christmas cheer. If you do add rum, Barbados' own Mount Gay is recommended.

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