Celebrating Holiday Traditions

From Michael Tinglin, GLF’s Chief Marketing Officer

Our family holiday tradition is to have and celebrate Caribbean food.  We fix and serve foods that we only serve during the holidays.  All year, I look forward to the Rum Pound Cake, Jamaican Black Cake and Sorrel which is a drink made from a hibiscus cousin flower.

Jamaican Sorrel (Hibiscus) Drink Recipe 


  • 5 1/4 ounces (150g; about 3 cups) dried sorrel (hibiscus), rinsed with cold water in a colander or strainer
  • 3/4 pound (350g) peel-on fresh ginger, washed and grated (see note)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 allspice berries, roughly crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 pound 1 1/2 ounces (495g; about 2 1/2 cups) sugar


  1. In a 4- or 5-quart pot or Dutch oven, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add sorrel, grated ginger, cloves, and crushed allspice, and boil until the sorrel begins to plump and swell, about 8 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled, then continue to steep in an airtight vessel in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  3. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or through cheesecloth into a large pitcher, pressing on solids to express as much liquid as possible. If needed, strain again until it is clear of any ginger remnants. Discard solids.
  4. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with the sugar. Continue to cook, stirring, until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove simple syrup from heat.
  5. Stir simple syrup into the strained sorrel, 1/2 cup at a time, until desired sweetness level is reached.
  6. Chill until ready to drink. Serve over ice.

Jamaican Black Cake



  • 1 lb prunes, pitted
  • 1 lb currants
  • 1 lb raisins 
  • 8oz red glaced cherries
  • 4oz mixed peel


  • 750mL bottle port wine (or another dark red wine)
  • 3-4 cups white or dark rum
  • Keep one extra small bottle rum on hand


  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp port wine


  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened (4 sticks)
  • 1 lb sugar, demerara brown or white granulated (2 cups)
  • 12 eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp mixed essence
  • 1 ½lbs macerated fruit mixture (about 3 heaping cups)
  • 300g all-purpose flour (2 ½ level cups)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground all spice
  • ¼ tsp ground clove


  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ¼ cup cherry brandy



  1. Wash and dry all fruits. Mix together in a large bowl. Place fruits a little at a time in a food processor, food mill, or ninja blender. Add enough wine to grind fruits to a paste. Repeat process until fruits have been macerated. Fruit mixture should not be too watery. Add 3-4 cups dark rum. Stir and let mixture soak at minimum one week or even one year+. Adding more wine or rum periodically.


  1. If using store-bought burnt sugar, skip this step. Place sugar in a small saucepan. On low heat turn sugar with a spoon until it begins to caramelize. Once dark brown, add wine and remove from heat. Let cool completely.


  1. Preheat oven to 275 or 300 degrees F.
  2. Line 3-8in or 2-9in baking pans with parchment paper. Trim paper and set aside.
  3. Bring eggs and butter to room temperature. 
  4. Crack eggs into a separate bowl one at a time, Remove little white membrane from each egg (optional). Beat in zests, vanilla, almond, and mixed essence. Set aside. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Set aside. 
  • In deep mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs a little at a time. Blend well. 
  • Of the macerated fruit mixture, add 1 ½ lbs (3 heaping cups) a little at a time, continue blending. 
  • Add flour mixture a little at a time- fold in with a spatula. Add 1 tbsp burnt sugar at a time until desired color is achieved. If using store bought burnt sugar, 4 tbsp should suffice for a very dark cake. Mix well. 
  • Pour batter into lined cake pans. 
  • Bake anywhere from 275-300 degrees F for 80-90 minutes. When cake come out of oven, pour alcohol mixture on top. When cool, cover cake with plastic wrap. Flavor is best after a few days.


1lb fruit mixture is traditionally used, you can try this recipe with these changes to see if it meets your preference. If you did not soak fruits months ahead, you can also simmer the fruits in wine for about 20 minutes. Let it cool then macerate and combine with rum. 

Batter may be split in 3 smaller cake pans.

After removing cake from oven, it may seem it is under cooked. Do not be alarmed as this is how it is supposed to be. After 2-3 days the texture will change.

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