After Jackie Summers survived a cancer scare, he immediately resigned from corporate life and began a quest to bring the spirit of his Caribbean heritage to the U.S.
This spring, Sorel (so-REL) will appear on shelves and in glasses. The vibrantly purple, clove-scented liqueur seems a perfect match for sunny rum drinks and effervescent gin fizzes. Typically, each Caribbean island has its own take on this elixir, but it isn’t typically sold to U.S. consumers.
“Sorel was available only in your grandmother’s kitchen or select ethnic restaurants,” Summers says. “Frustrated with its limited availability and disappointing quality, I set out on a mission to create my own unique recipe.”
Dosed with a full pound of spices per gallon and tinted with hibiscus flowers, the final product is mellow enough to sip like mulled wine, yet full-bodied enough to stand up to rich and spicy foods. That’s good news for Sorel’s first customer: Harlem’s Red Rooster, where its beverage director, Christian Post, is already creating a signature cocktail featuring Sorel.
Sorel Dark & Stormy
1½ ounces dark rum, such as Gosling’s Black Seal
3 ounces ginger beer
1 ounce Sorel liqueur
½ ounce lime juice (optional)
1 lime wheel or hibiscus blossom, for garnish
In a tall glass, stir together the rum, ginger beer, Sorel and lime juice with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel or hibiscus blossom, if desired.