The Ordinary’s Sorrel

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Picture of sorrel recipe made at the Ordinary

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.

recipe heading-plus-icon


Serves 8 to 10

  • 2½ cups dried hibiscus
  • 1 large knob of ginger, grated
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Rum, optional, for serving
  1. Use a mortar and pestle to crush cloves and allspice berries, set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Strain hibiscus mixture and add syrup, stirring to combine. Serve over ice. If adding rum, use 1 ounce for every 6 ounces sorrel.

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