Cocktail Recipe: Sobolo

6 Mar|Idler staff

To celebrate Ghanaian Independence Day and the launch of chef Zoe Adjonyoh’s new online course in Ghanaian cooking, we share her recipe for a refreshing West African cocktail.

This recipe is taken from The Idler Academy’s new online course “How To Cook Ghanaian with Zoe Adjonyoh“. Over six films, chef and writer Zoe demonstrates how to cook key recipes from her brilliant book Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. Her modern take on traditional Ghanaian recipes is a revelation for jaded palates.

Zoe says, “Sobolo is an incredibly refreshing drink made from the vibrant dried flowers of the red sorrel plant, which is reputed to offer many health benefits including reducing blood pressure and calming nerves. The flowers have a sharp-sour punch, but the juice from the petals once sweetened with sugar resembles cranberry juice.”

Sobolo is ideal for summertime parties and can be livened up further by the addition of vodka, gin (big in Ghana) or prosecco to turn it into a sorrel cocktail. Zoe’s book also has a recipe using Sobolo for a comforting hot gin punch.

Ingredients for 4
150-200g dried red sorrel (hibiscus flowers)
10 whole cloves
200g stem ginger, roughly grated or thinly sliced
2-3 guinea peppers, cracked open (optional)
1 star anise
110ml lemon juice
1.5 litre water
200g demerara or soft dark brown sugar, or to taste
Ice cubes to serve
Sprigs of mint and lime wedges to garnish

Lightly rinse the sorrel petals to remove any grit – the colour will run so be quick.
Place all the ingredients except the sugar in a large, deep saucepan – the mixture may bubble up, so a deep pan is necessary to avoid the mixture overflowing. Bring to the boil and boil for about 20 minutes or until the petals have given up all their colour.
Remove the heat, cover and leave to steep for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Strain the mixture into a tub and stir in the sugar to taste.
Add sparkling water for a long drink, gin for a Sobolo Martini or Prosecco for a Sobolo Spritz

Learn more about the delicious flavours and ingredients of Ghana in Zoe’s course, available here.