Not to be confused with the tart leafy green that goes by the same name, sorrel is what Jamaicans call hibiscus. Here, the sepals of the deep pink flowers are steeped with soul-warming spices and sugar to make a heady, floral beverage. 

Featured in “From Jamaica to Senegal, This Crimson Infusion Reigns Supreme.”

Yield: makes 5 cups
Time: 1 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 cups lightly packed dried hibiscus flowers
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (preferably Vietnamese or Indonesian)
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 2⅓ cups sugar


  1. In a medium pot set over medium-high heat, toast the cinnamon sticks and cloves, swirling constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in 4¼ cups of water and the sugar and boil until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the hibiscus, then turn off the heat and cover to steep until deep pink, at least 45 minutes.
  2. Strain the sorrel, discarding the solids, and set aside to cool to room temperature. To serve, pour ¾ cup of the syrup into a glass over ice, then add cold water, seltzer, or ginger beer to taste. Leftover syrup can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.