“Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”
Charles Pierre Monselet (1825-1888)
I am the child of West Indian immigrants. LIke many others who came to Canada from the Caribbean in the 70s our Christmases were a delicious mashup of Canadian and West Indian cusine. On Christmas Day, platters of curry goat, chicken roti, and samosa were served alongside turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. It wasn't unsual for me to get mixed bite of curry and cranberry as I helped myself to it all. One of the things I looked forward to every year was the first sip of Sorrel.
Sorrel is a traditional West Indian drink enjoyed during the holiday season from Trinidad & Tobago to Jamaica. The flavour and distinctive red colour of the drink comes from the husk of the roselle hibiscus flower, a species of hibiscus native to West Africa.
In West Indian households, Sorrel is as ubiquitous as egg nog during the holidays, with one batch for the kids and another generously spiked with Caribbean rum for the adults.
I remember the smell of it boiling on the stove filling the house with a spicy holiday scent. The agonizing wait for it to steep and cool before getting my first taste. The canoodling and begging for another glass as my parents tried every year to ration our supply so we would have enough left over for guests. There really isn't anything else that I associate this strongly with Christmas. Put on some soca music, get some water boiling and have your own taste of the Caribbean this holiday season!
Want more deliciously inspired holiday recipes? These bloggers from across Canada have all shared their favourite holiday recipes for you to enjoy with your families this Christmas season;