On a visit to Barbados about seven years ago, there I was introduced to a very unique liqueur called Falernum. They make a really good cocktail there called a Corn ‘n Oil in which the John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum is the primary ingredient. I also found out on the same trip that it is made at Foursquare Distillery there on Barbados.
John D Taylor Velvet Falernum is a longtime staple item of resorts and bars in Barbados, and today for its use in Tropical, Tiki and Caribbean drinks such as the Rum Swizzle, Mai Tai, Zombie, and the Corn n' Oil. It is made from an infusion of spices and lime juice into sugar cane syrup and Barbados Rum.
Falernum was at the center of many of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vics’ popular cocktails of the era. Falernum is a classic for your classic Tiki and other Caribbean cocktails. Falernum is either a non-alcoholic syrup or a liqueur based around white rum. Almond, clove and lime zest, with other possible flavors of allspice, ginger or vanilla are added to the rum to create this unique flavor. Falernum is one of those mixers that fit into so many different cocktails and brings them to life with the extra depth it adds.
For those looking for the flavor of falernum without the alcohol, Fee Brothers makes a very good Falernum syrup. The other alternative is to make it yourself. There are a lot of recipes out there to create this in your own kitchen. Below is the recipe that I have played with and like very much.
Traditionally, falernum is used with rum, tiki driven or swizzle style cocktails. Falernum adds a spicy sweetness that will overcome the citrus acetic, dryness or sourness of many cocktails. Falernum can be used with other spirits addition to rum, it does very well, especially dark spirits like rye, brandy, and scotch. This is one mixer that you have to be careful with and not use too much of it, as it can over power the cocktail very easily.
Bahama Bob’s Falernum Recipe
- 1/3 cup Sliced, Raw Almonds
- 30 whole Cloves
- 1/8 cup of fresh chopped Ginger
- 1/2 cup of Doorly’s White Rum or other quality white rum
- 8 Limes
- 2/3 cup of Water
- 1/2 cup of Sugar in the Raw
Preheat the oven to 400°F and toast the almonds on a cookie sheet until slightly darkened and fragrant, about five minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Let cool before using.
Place the almonds and cloves in a closeing glass jar and pour in the rum. Shake and let steep 24 hours days.
Zest the limes, being sure no white pith is included. Set aside four of the limes for use in the rest of this recipe, and reserve the rest for another project. Add lime zest to the jar. At this point you can also add other spices, if desired. Shake and let steep for 1 day, and then strain through cheesecloth, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible.
Juice four of the limes, and strain the juice into a sauce pot. Add water and sugar, then bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let syrup cool, then combine with the strained almond and clove infusion. Strain mixture through a coffee filter, if desired, then let it rest for an additional 12 hours before use.