What Is Jamaican Sorrel?

updated May 1, 2019
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Whole flowers or sometimes sold as flor de jamaica at Latin markets
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This time of the year, down in the Caribbean island of Jamaica, the locals are pulling out their pitchers and punch bowls to make the traditional holiday drink called sorrel punch. What’s sorrel, you ask? Don’t confuse it with the leafy spring green, as I did when I first heard of the punch made with it. They may share the same name, but they’re quite different.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

What Is Jamaican Sorrel?

Jamaican sorrel is in fact what many of us know as hibiscus blossoms, which can be found dried online and at Latin American or natural food stores, where they are sometimes also called flor de jamaica. The blossoms are traditionally steeped in hot or cold water to make a refreshing herbal, and therefore caffeine-free, tea. The tea has a beautiful ruby color and tart, tangy flavor that’s a little like cranberry or pomegranate.

Come the holidays, this tea is stirred up with fragrant spices like ginger and cloves, along with a bit of simple syrup and Jamaican rum for a festive holiday punch that both looks and tastes of the season.

Get the recipe: Jamaican Sorrel Punch