Housed in a historic bank building on Charleston’s esteemed King Street, the Ordinary keeps a cocktail program inspired by classic island drinks, including their sorrel recipe. “We put them under a microscope and take them to their extremes,” says Beverage Manager Christian Favier.
“Sorrel is quintessential bold, Caribbean flavor. A drink most traditionally enjoyed around Christmas time, this is a Jamaican staple, and everyone has their own recipe.”
Favier got her recipe while bartending in Harlem. “Having recently had sorrel, I told a guest I was thinking of using it in a cocktail. His response: ‘Well, you’re probably going to get it wrong, hand me a napkin.’ He wrote down his family’s recipe, shortly after paid out, and left. I never got his name, and I never saw him in my bar again, but I’ve been making his recipe for years,” Favier says.
Serves 8 to 10
2½ cups dried hibiscus
1 large knob of ginger, grated
10 allspice berries
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 cups sugar
Rum, optional, for serving
- Use a mortar and pestle to crush cloves and allspice berries, set aside.
- In a large pot bring 9 cups water to a simmer, then add all ingredients through limes. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate overnight, unstrained.
- The following day, make syrup: In a medium pot, combine sugar with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar dissolves and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Strain hibiscus mixture and add syrup, stirring to combine. Serve over ice. If adding rum, use 1 ounce for every 6 ounces sorrel.