I have much to thank my Jamaican in-laws for, not least for my first taste of this Caribbean linctus. I was first offered this one Christmas and was immediately hooked! Although traditionally served at Christmas the medicinal properties of this plant-based drink mean it has become a year-round staple in our home. It has a distinctive strong, tangy taste and has a refreshing effect that is hard to describe – it’s energising and amazingly good for you. It’s best to make it and then leave in the fridge for 4-5 days for the flavour to really develop.
400g dried sorrel (as above, also known as hibiscus flower – I have found it in Arabic, Turkish and Asian food shops)
2.5 litres water
75g grated ginger (about a 2-inch piece – it gives it a lovely kick!)
8 x allspice berries (also known as pimento berries – again can be found in the same type of shops you find the hibiscus flower in)
4 – 5 x whole dried cloves
2 x cinnamon sticks
peel from 1 x orange or satsuma – (get a knife and peel the orange and stick the strips into the pot!)
1 x cup of brown sugar (I have made with a mixture of agave and maple syrup rather than processed sugar) you will have to keep testing until you get to the required amount of sweetness for your taste.
Place the dried sorrel in a large pan (it needs to be large and deep). Add the water, grated ginger, pimento, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir everything and then bring to the boil.
After about 10 minutes of boiling, remove from the heat and leave to completely cool.
Once cool add in the orange peel and put the lid on the pot and place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning strain the mixture through a wire mesh strainer, push down with a wooden spoon as you are straining to get the maximum out.
Now it’s time to sweeten, either stir in whatever sugar you are using or start adding agave or maple syrup until it becomes sweet enough for you.
You can also add a little red wine, sherry or Jamaican rum to jazz it up a bit!
(I understand a little rum preserves the juice:-)).
As much as you might want to drink it now – PLEASE WAIT! decant into bottles and put in your fridge for 4-5 days to rest – then pour out a small glass with ice and a slice of orange – its cold, refreshing, reviving and ooooh so good!