Sorrel is a synonym for Christmas in the Caribbean. The seasonal plant originating from West Africa is relatively inexpensive and abundant at local markets. After being dried, it can last for months to be used year round. Sorrel, fresh or dried, is mainly used for the refreshing beverage usually cooked between November and January. This drink takes an honorary position at the family dinner table among curried goat, the rum cake, and rice with pigeon peas.
The beverage can be consumed cold or hot and is usually infused with varying strengths of ginger, sweetened with sugar and spiked with (what do you think?) white rum, as it can preserve the drink. Sorrel is rich in Vitamin C as well as in phosphorous, copper, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
Making a sorrel drink is deemed to be a Christmas tradition not only in Jamaica but Guyana, Dominica, Trinidad, and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Montserrat, Barbados, and others.