Refreshing cocktails with sorrel hit the glass

Hibiscus by another name still tastes as sweet

When Martin Cate first opened Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco, he put a Sorrel Punch on the menu.

It didn't sell very well–until he renamed it Hibiscus Punch. "People just didn't know what sorrel was. They assumed it was some kind of weird vegetal drink."

Well, now he might be able to change the name back, as sorrel is finding its moment.

The hibiscus-based drink is a popular tipple in the Caribbean. Often flavored with warming spices like cinnamon, allspice and ginger, it has a long-standing tradition of being served warm during the Christmas season.

But it is equally delicious in the summertime, as bartenders are discovering. Some, like Cate, are making their own sorrel liqueur. At New York's The Spotted Pig, house-made sorrel is mixed with rum and lemonade for a delicious cooler (click here to see the recipe).

And thanks to the launch of a new product, Sorel ($27 for 750 ml), this regional specialty is now even easier to enjoy. Produced by the new liquor brand Jack From Brooklyn, Sorel is a balanced blend of acidic hibiscus, spices and just a touch of sugar. Cofounder Jackie Summers suggests freezing it into ice cubes and adding it to St-Germain, a Vodka Collins, or simply a flute of Prosecco.