Back in the early twenty-teens, when Sorel first hit the market, it didn’t take long to become a bar staple. Shockingly, it also didn’t take long to fall out of the market. This had nothing to do with quality or popular demand.
Distiller Jackie Summers’ warming, spiced and rubied liqueur—inspired by the hibiscus sorrel “tea” of West African and Caribbean origin—had the wind knocked out of it when Hurricane Sandy destroyed his Brooklyn-based production facility. Thankfully, Sorel made its return with the help of an investor whose vision extends well beyond supporting exceptional spirits.
Fawn Weaver, founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey (named for the once-enslaved master distiller who taught Jack Daniel to make whiskey), has funded Summers with an ethos toward promoting Black-owned distilleries. Which means that in its second life, drinking Sorel feels good in a number of ways.
1 dash Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters
1 ounce Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 ounce Sorel
2 ounces Belgian Dubbel Ale
2 ounces Dry Lambrusco
Muddle kumquat in a rocks glass with bitters. Add rye, Sorel, ale and Lambrusco, and lightly stir to combine.
Makes 1 cocktail.