How would you feel if you know how to make your favorite drink? Happy! I learned to make my favorite sobolo drink. I never run out of it in the house. A chilled and sweaty glass of sobolo drinks, especially on a hot afternoon is the deal. Sobolo drink is refreshing and sweet, slightly tarty and tangy. It’s a bit like cranberry juice. Some people love it with mint too; it’s even more refreshing they say!

I am unhappy whenever I request for sobolo in a hotel or restaurant and am told it’s not served. Sobolo drink is a traditional drink from Jamaica, where it’s called “sorrel”, made from hibiscus blossoms. 

Dried hibiscus or roselle is usually steeped in water to make crimson-colored tisanes and juices. Burkinabes call it ‘bissap’ while Ghanaians and Nigerians call it ‘sobolo’. Egyptians call it ‘karkade’. Just get the recipe and make yourself a homemade refreshing drink! Ghanaians usually add ginger, pineapple or lemongrass to the juice to redefine its taste. I love to add ginger and pineapple and a spice called cloves. 

Medicinal benefits

Various parts of the plant are also used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers are good, medicinally.

Hibiscus is used for treating loss of appetite, coldsheart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and circulatory disorders; it also helps dissolve phlegm.

Hibiscus is used to flavor foods and beverages. It is also used to improve the odor, flavor, or appearance of tea mixtures. 

How to make Sobolo drink (Hibiscus Ginger Punch)

Ingredients:

Serves about 12

4 1/2 cups water

1 cup dried hibiscus blossoms

4-inch piece of thinly sliced ginger 

1 big pineapple 

1/4-cup sugar or honey (optional)

A tablespoonful of cloves

Optional: ice, garnishes of mint, lemon or lime slices

Method: 

1. Rinse the hibiscus flower leaves thoroughly,

2. Add water, hibiscus blossoms, and the cloves in a pot

3. Boil for 10 minutes

3. Let it cool, strain to remove the leaves 

4. Blend the ginger and pineapple and strain to get the juice.

5. Mix the pineapple and ginger juice with the sobolo drink. Instead of boiling the ginger and pineapple together with the hibiscus leaves, I prefer this method in order to maintain the nutrients and natural taste of the pineapple and ginger.

6. Add sugar or ice (optional) but I prefer honey to sugar

7. Chill and serve

NB: More pineapple will give a sweet taste that you need not add sugar. 

Enjoy

Renate Dzodzomenyo

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