Sorel liqueur relaunches with Uncle Nearest backing

New York-based brand Sorel has reintroduced its hibiscus liqueur after receiving an investment from the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund.

American whiskey producer Uncle Nearest launched the US$50 million fund earlier this month with the aim of supporting Black-owned spirits brands. Sorel maker Jack From Brooklyn is one of the first businesses backed by the project. Founded by Jackie Summers, Jack From Brooklyn became the first Black-owned distillery in the US since Prohibition when it gained its federal license in 2012. Summers developed Sorel through a process of trial and error, tweaking the recipe hundreds of times before settling on batch 624 as his final product. The liqueur takes its inspiration from a traditional Caribbean drink, and is made with Moroccan hibiscus, Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg, cane sugar and organic grain alcohol. Summers said: "Across the African diaspora, there's an ancestral memory of 'the Red Drink'. As part of the Transatlantic slave trade, the knowledge of this drink and its medicinal properties travelled alongside enslaved Africans to the Americas. "This infusion of capital will help us tell a story of perseverance that's over 500 years old." Through the investment, the brand has debuted a website, sorelofficial.com, and will expand to markets including California, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Washington DC. It expects to reach more than 40 states by the end of the year. As a throwback to Sorel's 624-batch development process, the product was officially relaunched on 24 June, and 624 boxes of Sorel signed by Summers are available to buy on the brand's website. Sorel is priced at RRP US$32.99 per 750ml.