Sorrel and homemade ginger-beer are two drinks you’re guaranteed to find being enjoyed in just about every Caribbean home you visit during the Christmas season. Even after we moved to Canada, it was our yearly tradition to source out a grocery store which stocked the dried petals of sorrel or have relatives who would be visiting stock their suitcases with a package or two on their way up. The odd time we could get the fresh flowers, it was a welcomed bonus (like finding buried treasure). It’s funny how after so many years of using the dried stuff, you almost prefer it to the fresh ones now.
Here’s my take on taking the traditional way of making our delightful sorrel drink and adding a bit of flair to it with Champagne or sparkling wine.. you can thank me later!
1 – 1 1/2 cups dried sorrel
1/2 cup sugar
thick slice ginger
1/2 large orange (slices)
6 cups water
1 bottle sparkling wine (or champagne)
* grapes and orange slices for garnish. You can add a bit more sugar if you wish, but do keep in mind that the champagne will already be sweet.
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan (except the champagne) and bring to a boil, stir well to make sure the sugar melts. Reduce to a simmer for 5 mins. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it steep until it cools (about 2 hours).
When it cools, you’ll need to strain it into another container. Then strain it again to make sure you get all the possible debris out (as you can see from my second strain). Use a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Discard the remnants.
Pour the cool/strained sorrel mix into your serving container and chill. When you’re ready to serve, open your champagne or sparkling wine and pour in. Toss in some fresh cut orange slices to garnish. You can freeze some seedless grapes and use as ice cubes in the glasses you’ll be serving your champagne sorrel in. Remember if you use ice it will thin-out the drink and change the consistency and flavor.
If you’re looking for a wicked drink to serve up on New Year’s eve or to introduce your friends to one of the most cherished of Caribbean customs (drinks) this holiday season.. this champagne sorrel is a MUST! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!