Caribbean Irish moss (sea moss) drink recipe

25.1.24 | Recipe by Renz

Creamy, spiced sea moss punch is a traditional drink enjoyed across the Caribbean. Not only is it tasty, but it also has a boatload of health benefits!

Two glasses filled with seamoss drink with dried seamoss on the side.

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You might have heard of the Jamaican Irish moss drink. Well, in Trinidad, we call it sea moss. We mix sea moss gel with condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spicy Angostura bitters to make a delicious immune system-boosting drink.

People drink sea moss punch across the Caribbean to prevent illness, and you’ll also see it in plenty of bars as a mixer for rum and whiskey.

It’s super easy to make the gel for sea moss punch - you just soak and then boil the sea moss. Once you have the gel, blend it with the rest of the ingredients to make a thick and creamy punch.


What is sea moss?

Sea moss is a sea vegetable similar to seaweed. It’s also known as Chondrus Crispus or Irish moss.

Sea moss is a type of seaweed that provides a source of carrageen moss which is a thickening agent used in some foods.

When dried sea moss is soaked or boiled, it forms a nutrient-rich gel that you use to make this tasty drink - or you can add it to smoothies for extra goodness.

You can also use it as a vegan thickening agent instead of eggs to make ice cream or vegan cheese.

Ingredient notes

Here are some quick notations for some of the base ingredients. See the full list of ingredients and quantities in. the recipe card below.

  • Dried sea moss: This is the main ingredient, This recipe uses dried sea moss which you can buy online. If you have raw sea moss, you can also use this. Follow the directions on the package for instructions on how to prepare.
  • Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk comes in tins, so you’ll find it in the store cupboard section at your local supermarket.
  • Whole milk: You could switch to semi-skimmed milk if you want a lower-fat version of this recipe.
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds an earthy sweetness, which is gorgeous with the cinnamon. You can substitute for ginger if you want to add a little fire.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is sweet and a little woody. If you don’t have cinnamon, you can use allspice.
  • Mixed essence: Mixed essence is a staple in Caribbean baking; I always like to keep some in the cupboard. It mixes sweet flavors like vanilla, almond, lemon or orange. You can find it online or in larger grocery stores.
  • Angostura aromatic bitters: Made in Trinidad, Angostura bitters are an herbal alcoholic preparation that gives drinks a wonderfully bitter edge. If you don’t have any, use orange bitters instead.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: Similar to evaporated milk, but with added sugar for a rich, sweet taste.
  • Lime juice: Essential! Either buy it in a bottle or squeeze a fresh lime.


Make this recipe a vegan version by replacing the whole milk with almond milk; and the evaporated milk and condensed milk with coconut milk and sugar to your personal taste.

Additions for Irish moss

Like any other drink, there's a base, then variations of add-ins to take the recipe over the top. Here are some suggestions for your own concoction.

  • Oats - Add a little raw oats to the mix. Using a high speed blender would be great to ensure that everything gets ground finely.
  • Guinness - add about a 1/4 cup (adjust to taste) of stout for additional flavor.
  • Banana - makes it nice and creamy
  • Nuts: Ground cashews, peanuts, or almonds
  • Flaxseed
  • Peanut butter: Try adding a generous amount of peanut butter to make this a peanut punch. The creamy texture and taste are gorgeous, and you’ll get an extra protein hit too.

Preparing the recipe

How to make sea moss gel

Start by thoroughly cleaning the sea moss to remove any debris. Place it in a bowl covered with cold water, and work it with your hands to remove any visible particles, dirt, or sea debris. This step is essential, as any debris you don’t remove will end up in your sea moss gel.

Once the sea moss is clean, move it to another bowl and add clean water to cover it. Add a little lime juice, and leave to soak for at least an hour, ideally overnight. It will double in size.

Seamoss soaked in water and how it looks just as it's fully soaked.

Discard the water you used for soaking, and move the sea moss to a large pot with fresh water. Apply medium heat until the water comes to a boil, and boil until the moss turns to a jelly-like texture.
Leave it to cool. It will turn into more of a solid jelly as it cools.

Sea moss before it's boiled down and seamoss aftere it's boiled down.

How to make sea moss drink

Once the moss is cooled, it's simply about taking a cup of the Irish moss mixture to make the drink.

So grab some gel and put it in the blender with milk, nutmeg, mixed essence, condensed milk, and a dash of Angostura bitters. It is best to use a high-powered blender so that it can break up the gel well. Adjust the drink to your own taste. If you don't like the thickness of this drink, add more milk to help thin it out.

Strain, if you like, and serve over ice or chilled. I like to have tiny pieces of moss in my drink, so I don't strain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you soak sea moss too long?

If you soak sea moss too long, it will lose its quality and spoil. It might go moldy or develop an unpleasant fishy smell. To ensure that sea moss keeps its quality, don’t soak it for more than 48 hours.

Where to buy Irish moss?

You can buy dried Irish moss online from Amazon, or you may be able to find Caribbean brands in larger grocery stores.

Be sure to buy Irish moss that is whole rather than flaked. This is the most important ingredient so we want to make to have the best quality. Search for brands that describe their moss as wild-harvested or wild-crafted to guarantee quality.

You can expect to find debris in your moss, which you will need to wash off. This is normal.

Be mindful of buying fake sea moss. There are versions out there that have been created in pools and other areas. Dr Sebi has a great article on what to look out for with counterfeiting Irish moss.

Finished glass of seamoss with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

Health benefits of sea moss

There are so many health benefits of sea moss.

It’s enjoyed as a health drink throughout the Caribbean. People use it to prevent illness or to help recovery. It’s also known as a love potion, as it’s used as an aphrodisiac. Sea moss gel is packed with antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of many diseases. It’s also a source of protein and is high in iodine, which supports the thyroid.

Other drinks with nutritional value

The best way to store sea moss

Once you have prepared your sea moss punch, seal it in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. You can store it safely there for up to two weeks.

You can also store the seaweed gel for later use. You can store it in the fridge in a container or even in an ice tray to make sea moss gel ice cubes. Just take out enough cubes when you are ready to use it.

Delicious creamy Caribbean drinks