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Sobolo (Sorrel Juice)

Courteous Nassima Rothacker

Chef notes

This is an incredibly refreshing drink made from the vibrant dried flowers of the red sorrel plant, which is reputed to offer many health benefits including reducing blood pressure and calming nerves. The flowers have a sharp-sour punch, but the juice from the petals once sweetened with sugar resembles cranberry juice. This drink is ideal for summertime parties and can be livened up further by the addition of vodka to turn it into a sorrel cocktail.


  • 5½-7 ounces dried red sorrel (hibiscus flowers)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 (7-ounce) stem ginger, roughly grated or thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Guinea peppers, cracked open (optional)
  • 1 pod star anise
  • fluid ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pints water
  • 7 ounces demerara or soft dark brown sugar, or to taste
  • ice cubes, to serve
  • mint sprigs and lime wedges, to garnish



Lightly rinse the sorrel petals to remove any grit (the color will run, which you don't want to lose, so be quick).


Place the sorrel, cloves, ginger, Guinea peppers, star anise, lemon juice and water in a large, deep saucepan (the mixture may bubble up, so a deep pan is necessary to avoid the mixture overflowing). Bring to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes or until the petals have given up all their color.


Remove from the heat, cover and let steep at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.


Strain the mixture into a jug and stir in the sugar to taste.


Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of mint and wedges of lime.