Caribbean people are known for owning mom-and-pop eateries, not so much for owning national businesses.
Bottling a famed, cultural drink, Jack Summers — known as Jack from Brooklyn whose parents are from Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis — has turned everyone’s favorite Christmas drink, sorrel, into just that.
Jack left 25 years of corporate America in the media industry to pursue his passion of bottling his culture to be enjoyed by the general populous beyond the Caribbean communities in Brooklyn.
“I tell Caribbean people all the time, if you drink wine you’re drinking French or Italian culture; if you drink whiskey you’re drinking Scottish culture; if you drink sake you’re drinking Japanese culture; why would you not drink your culture,” he said.
Jack’s decision to leave his corporate position did not arrive overnight. Faced with a life-changing cancer scare, Jack’s doctor told him “to get his affairs in order” after they discovered a golf-sized ball in his spine five years ago.
Beating cancer, Jack decided to make Christmas all year-round with the creation of Sorel Liqueur in 2012.
“It was lots of failure. Every single day, wake up and brew, and then torture it,” he said.
With a background in advertising and media, Jack entered the complicated food science world discovering the trick to give his sorrel a shelf life unlike traditional sorrel.
Swapping out the favorite choice of rum for organic neutral grain alcohol, Jack’s Sorel Liqueur can last for years in your liquor cabinet.
“I’m able to remove all of the insoluble material, it is not only shelf-stable, it will last for years, and it is crystal clear and beautiful,” he explained.
Located in 500 different bars, restaurants, stores in New York alone, Sorel Liqueur is being sold in 22 states as well as in Canada and Australia.
Ultimately, Jack wants to lead the charge in influencing the Caribbean to create businesses that showcase the rich culture to be celebrated beyond the islands.
“I think that Caribbean people are very good at the mom-and-pop thing but incorporating and really taking it to the masses is something that we have to learn to be better at,” he said.
Sorel Liqueur [jackf