The Return of Robert Marley (or, ‘Spiced Jamaica Tea and Island Rum’ Sorbet)

Spiced Jamaica Tea and Island Rum sorbet with mint sprig and white bowlNo, this is not a recipe for hash brownies or a tutorial on how to roll your own, so get your collective heads out of the (purple) haze and back into the gutters…

Bob Marley, high and smoking

No, it's ok Bob… You can stay where you're at.

No, this is more of a brief and simple cautionary tale about the dangers of letting a Bossian mind wander aimlessly through one-too-many consecutive days of soul-sapping, overcast skies…that limbo between the downturn of winter and the day when spring finally garners the strength to take flight and break free of the bleak, grey pallor cast over the landscape…until that one day…that day when not even the “Sonny Crockett salmon”-hued sports jacket and a re-run of ‘Captain Ron‘ can cure the impossibly deep-seated blues of the seemingly perpetual gloaming that is early-March.

Miami Vice Sonny Crockett with gun drawn

"FREEZE, SORBET!! No, seriously…the instruction manual said 20 minutes, max…We've got a regatta full of cocaine busts and hookers to take down in, like, a half hour…"

So, as I sit here at my cramped table…eyes peering through the darkened window…surveying the sickly terrain and sipping on my pedestrian cup of coffee, my mind began drifting toward a more temperate clime and more exotic sensory experiences…

Fortunately, my mind eventually made its way back to me – as it typically does, once it gets hungry. And this time, it returned in style – bearing a list of ingredients worthy of a truly unique tropical dessert. And, while my mind can’t drag my butt down south of the Keys for an extended weekend getaway, at least it can take my tongue there.

Since I am fanatically opposed to buying a marble bag full of juice-less key limes from the local mega-store, any variation on key lime pie is out, which left me with an array of cold treat possibilities. Ice creams and gelatos just take too long to make a good quick dessert option and, since I was really feeling more of a “frozen mixed drink” sort of vibe anyway, sorbet proclaimed itself the winner…and if anybody ever starts reading this darn blog, maybe I will whip up an article about the science and secrets behind a perfectly creamy and uniform sorbet. *ahem*passive-aggressiveoutburst*cough* HA, I’m being lovably facetious, of course… I couldn’t be happier with the success and support I’ve received…

Oliver Twist May I please have some more

...but orphan with each referral...?

Spiced Jamaica Tea and Island Rum sorbet with mint sprig and white bowl‘Spiced Jamaica Tea and Island Rum’ Sorbet

1 cup cold, filtered water
1/2 cup jamaica* tea
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp gold rum
2 tsp lime zest
allspice leaf (or 1/8 tsp ground allspice)
turbinado cane sugar (8.5 oz)

Jamaica flower on white plate and green table

*they're not much to look at but dried jamaica flowers make an awesomely refreshing and tart tea when brewed. Plus, the badass name (pronounced "huh-MIKE-uh")...sounds like you should be brandishing a cutlass and a puffy shirt when you say it...

The “flor de jamaica,” or “jamaica flower,” is actually a type of hibiscus native to Malaysia and the south Pacific but it has become naturalized throughout the modern-day tropics…not unlike Magnum, P.I.’s wardrobe.

Magnum, P.I. in classic Hawaiian shirt

"I'm Thomas Magnum and I would like to formally apologize."

First things first: brew up your jamaica tea blend in advance so it has time to cool. Granted, not everybody has an allspice tree growing out back. But if you do, now is the time. If not, then go ahead and go with the ground allspice option. Whichever path you take, brew about 1/2 ounce of dried jamaica flowers (about 1/4 cup if lightly packed) and the allspice in about 1 cup of filtered water and let this cook down until you’re left with 1/2 cup of actual tea. If you overshoot and end up with too little tea, just add fresh water back in because this stuff concentrates disturbingly well.

old man pucker face

...but who's to say how tart is "too tart," anyway?

After straining out the solids, set the tea aside until it’s back around room temperature or slip it in the fridge to speed up the process.

The zest from a couple of medium limes should give you all you need for this recipe.  Beyond that, squeeze your way to 1/2 cup of lime juice and set aside.

(Oh, and it may be a little late to bring this up but I’m presuming you have an ice cream/sorbet/gelato-type machine laying around somewhere. OOPS!! Totally sorry for any inconvenience there… Here, have an orphan…on me.)

Now, the fun part: mixing. I’ve found that the best way to do this is by taking two nesting bowls and filling the larger one about 1/3 full with crushed ice and a bit of cold water, then resting the smaller bowl down into the ice water. Basically, you’re creating the evil arch-nemesis doppelganger of the heroic double-boiler…the Bizarro Batman in the realm of improv kitchen implements… Yes, I find that food tastes better when heavily analogized with superhero terminology.


We all have our "things"......... Shut up.

With the two cold bowls nested, mix in all your ingredients and whisk vigorously every couple minutes until the sugar has melted fully. This helps the solution begin chilling before adding it to the machine and has always helped me achieve that decadent, creamy texture while keeping the ice crystals uniformly small. Finally, give it a couple hours in the freezer – to complete the process – and it will be SO worth it. I will be posting quite an array of sorbet recipes as the weather continues to warm but this one will always be one of my favorites, as it carries such a distinctly playful nature. I still can’t quite put my finger on the reason…

Empty bacardi rum bottle

Pictured: Hint


2 thoughts on “The Return of Robert Marley (or, ‘Spiced Jamaica Tea and Island Rum’ Sorbet)

  1. Pingback: “Spring Has Sprung… BATTER UP!! (aka, Lemon & Pinot Sorbet)” | Sauce Boss

  2. Pingback: Cinco Words for Cinco de Mayo: “Prickly Pear and Habanero MARGARITA” | Sauce Boss

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