The Jamaican Rum Hot Toddy
This hot cocktail is my new, Caribbean drink for cold winter nights. I like the idea of drinking something tropical in winter but since this is a hot sorrel drink recipe, it’s also a great antidote for the cold.
What is Sorrel?
When you hear the word sorrel, you might think of a soft, leafy green. That is not the sorrel we’re talking about here. The sorrel drink is a sexy Jamaican specialty.
Now a sorrel Jamaican drink is usually made and served during the holiday season. It is a punch made from an infusion of hibiscus blossoms or hibiscus tea. It is a punch bowl drink, (rum optional), in a brilliant, crimson red color and a sweet tart flavor.
How to make sorrel syrup
To make a sorrel drink, you will need a sorrel syrup, like the one in my recipe below. For the sake of timing, please don’t forget that the sorrel syrup must be cooled completely before you use it in this or any sorrel cocktail. The main ingredient in sorrel syrup is hibiscus. You can use dried hibiscus flowers but I prefer the ease of using hibiscus tea.
My recipe for sorrel
Now, as you can see from the recipe below, my sorrel is a departure from the original, Jamaican, sorrel drink. My drink is hot. In fact, I’d call it a variation on a hot toddy made with rum.
The other major difference between my sorrel recipe and what is known as sorrel in Jamaica is that I’m recommending this drink as a Valentine’s Day cocktail – or at least a drink for a romantic occasion – if Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing.
Why sorrel recipes are great for romantic occasions
Although my recipe is a departure from Jamaican sorrel, my sorrel syrup uses the same two main ingredients as a Caribbean sorrel punch. And both of these ingredients happen to be aphrodisiac.
Hibiscus, the main ingredient in the Jamaican drink, is surprisingly nutritious. And it also has both historical and nutritional drinks to sexual health and performance. Not bad for a pretty flower!
Ginger, a common holiday season spice, is the other main flavoring in the classic Jamaican sorrel drink. The ginger balances the tart flavor of the hibiscus tea, cutting through with a delicious bite. But it also adds another layer to the aphrodisiac possibilities of this Caribbean drink.
Ginger is known for an ability to raise body heat – perhaps even prompt the urge to tear off one’s clothes. It also makes the tongue tingle with anticipation. And it makes the lips plump naturally with kissable softness.
Choosing your spirit for this sorrel rum toddy
I make my sorrel hot toddy recipe with Dos Maderas Anejo Rum. It is not Jamaican but it comes from the Caribbean and embodies the spirit of this tropical, winter drink. It is oak aged and fairly complex, with pleasing sweetness to balance the hibiscus tea. I recommend trying the drink this way but you can always use your preferred rum.
Sorrel Toddy - A Hot Sorrel Drink Recipe
For the Sorrel Toddy:
- 1-1/2 ounces sorrel syrup
- 2 ounces Dos Maderas Anejo Rum
- 1 cup hibiscus tea
- cinnamon stick for stirring
For the Sorrel Syrup:
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 hibiscus flower tea bags or 12 pieces dried hibiscus flowers
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4- inch piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/2-inch slices and smashed to release juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 20 whole allspice berries cracked (put in a zip bag, press down with the bottom of a saucepan)
- 20 whole cloves
For the Sorrel Syrup:
- Place teabags or hibiscus flowers in a mug or heatproof measuring cup. Pour boiling water over. Steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove teabags, strain liquid into a measuring cup. You should have 6 ounces (3/4 cup).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, toast the allspice and cloves just until they become aromatic – up to 1 minute, do not burn.
- Add the hibiscus infusion, sugar, and rest of spices.
- Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat (before it boils over). Steep an additional 15 minute or more.
- Strain and cool completely.
- I store my sorrel syrup in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator with the cinnamon sticks from the cooking. It’s good for about 7-10 days.
To make the cocktail:
- Add the sorrel syrup and rum to the hot hibiscus tea. Stir with a cinnamon stick and serve warm.
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