I love Christmas. The music, the food, the family, the snow, all the traditions. Whether observing the passed down traditions or creating new ones the holidays really get me in a good mood. This year has been particularly special as my daughter has taken on the massive role of baking the black rum cake and if you know Jamaican culture black cake is paramount and not everyone gets the blessing of the ancestors to be ordained the “Maker of Black Cake”. There are only a few anointed per generation (I’m joking….sort of). Skye did a stellar job. She followed the recipe passed down from my late aunt Jean and the elders (my uncle, and her grandparents) have all agreed the ancestors must be pleased.
In the theme of bringing the old traditions to the new generation I have decided at the request of my sister to remix the Caribbean Christmas staple, sorrel. I present to you SORREL MOJITOS!
A few years ago the entire family spent Christmas in Jamaica and although I missed the snowy Christmas morning, it was an absolute treat. This cocktail brings you a little bit of sunshine in the winter.
There are a few steps to prepare the base of this cocktail and I would suggest doing this a day or so before. We typically make the sorrel the weekend before Christmas when we do all the baking. It is actually a wonderful pre-Christmas party. We make A LOT of this drink as it is customary to gift a bottle when visiting friends and family over the holiday (if they are particularly loved they may get one of the black cakes to go along with it).
Here is the thing, in our culture we don’t measure everything exactly. You may have heard those of the African diaspora say things like we season until the ancestors tap us on our shoulder and say “that’s enough my child”. We cook through our spirit and this is why it’s called soul food.
JAMAICAN SORREL (this recipe yields 7L)
6L of water
5 packs of dried sorrel (100g per pack)
1 -2 cups of ginger (wash well, smash but do not chop)
1 dozen cinnamon leaves (medium or large)
1 teaspoon whole cloves
- Place the ginger in the boiling pot of water for about 5-10mins before all the other ingredients
- Thoroughly rinse the dried sorrel under cold water (do not use warm or hot water)
- Add the sorrel, cinnamon leaves and cloves into the water
- Turn down to simmer for 20 mins, do not boil the sorrel.
- Turn off the sorrel and let it steep (this could be a few hours to a couple days)
- Once sorrel is cooled add 3 cups of demerara cane sugar (add gradually and taste as you go. Sorrel is a sweet drink.
The next steps optional as they contain alcohol
- Add a combination of Red Label wine or any fortified wine and Wrey & Nephew white rum this a 2 parts wine 1 part rum (total of 1L)
Now it’s time for the remix.
- In a shaker muddle well ¾ lime and a few fresh mint leaves
- Add a few cubes of ice
- Add 1 oz tequila
- Fill the rest with sorrel
- Shake like crazy!
Pour in a mason jar filled with ice and garnish with a wedge of lime and mint.