Why Sorrel Is Jamaica's Favorite Christmas Drink

glass of sorrel with flowers
glass of sorrel with flowers - Everyday Better To Do Everything You Love/Getty Images

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Along with traditional foods, Christmas is also associated with quite a few traditional beverages. In Jamaica, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a glass of sorrel. The key ingredient in this beloved holiday beverage comes from the leaves of the roselle plant, a type of hibiscus flower. Cooking down the leaves in hot water creates a tangy beverage with flavors similar to cranberries in terms of tartness. However, most people add other ingredients to sorrel to temper its flavor, which can be a bit overpowering on its own.

In addition to its unforgettable flavor profile, sorrel is also very versatile when it comes to preparations. Some people enjoy drinking it cold, while others may heat it up prior to serving. You can also allow the drink to age for an extended period to get a more intense flavor. The drink even contains vital nutrients, including vitamin C. Keep in mind that added ingredients, such as sugar and alcohol, may somewhat diminish its nutritional value.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Tips For Flavoring Your Sorrel

assortment of spices on table
assortment of spices on table - Sgaphoto/Getty Images

Sorrel is beloved for its pleasantly tart flavor, but incorporating additional ingredients can temper some of the tartness if you prefer. That's why many recipes include simple syrup, which allows you to control the sweetness of the beverage based on how much you add. You can also swap the simple syrup for agave nectar, which bears some resemblance to honey, albeit with a milder flavor. As for spices, ginger, cloves, and allspice are all common accompaniments to sorrel.

The length of time you allow the sorrel to steep also has a significant impact on flavor. By allowing the beverage to rest before straining it, it will better absorb the full potency of the sorrel leaves remaining within the brew. You'll get the boldest flavors if you allow the sorrel to steep in the refrigerator for about three days before straining and serving, but steeping overnight will also create a flavorful result.

Which Liquor Goes Best With Sorrel?

man holding bottle of liquor
man holding bottle of liquor - Hispanolistic/Getty Images

Much like eggnog, which is often served spiked with liquor at Christmastime, lots of people add alcohol to sorrel once it's fully steeped and ready for drinking. If you want to go the traditional route when incorporating alcohol into the beverage, a nice Jamaican rum is a great selection. Considered one of the most popular rums in Jamaica, many holiday revelers opt for Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, which meshes beautifully with sorrel thanks to flavor undertones like bananas and nuts. And with 63% alcohol by volume, this rum makes for a highly potent Christmas celebration.

If you'd like to experiment with other types of liquor, tequila is another fine selection to pair with sorrel. In this case, look for varieties of tequila associated with flowery notes or those with herbal and fruit-forward qualities. When putting a new spin on the traditional beverage, tequila with these flavors will pair best with the inherent flavors of sorrel. No matter how you choose to enjoy the hibiscus-based drink, it's bound to become part of your yearly Christmas tradition going forward.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.