Falernum is a sweet sugary syrup originating from the Caribbean and is most often used in rum based cocktails with a tropical feel to them. This syrup can come in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, and in various brands. It’s important to look at whether or not the bottle you’re buying is alcoholic or not, as the alcoholic versions can range from 10-25% Vol. (typically speaking).
It is a thick syrupy liquid that can range from clear/white to golden and translucent and therefore the type of Falernum you use can affect the appearance of the drink you’re trying to create.
But whatever version you choose the overall flavour is almost always the same, and it’s for this reason it is so popular with bars and their cocktails (the famous OXO Tower in London uses Golden Falernum in their Dark N’ Stormy recipe).
Falernum typically contains a collection of ingredients, including (although not always together): Almond, Ginger, Clove, Lime, Vanilla and occasionally All Spice. As you can tell different brands can differ quite significantly in taste and whilst one version may enhance your Mai Tai, another might not. This is something to be aware of when you go shopping for a bottle…
So where can you purchase Falernum?
Well you would not be stoned for assuming supermarkets would stock this item, but here in the UK it has still to break the stranglehold Monin’s Grenadine & Simple syrups hold on the shelves. However there are some online sources where you can pop a bottle in with a delivery of other liqueurs/spirits. These websites are TheDrinkShop and TheWhiskyExchange. Failing that you can always brew up a homemade version, try your hand at Kaiser Penguins’ recipe. Those of you reading this in the USA, seeing as the Caribbean is a mere boat ride away, I’m sure you shouldn’t find it too difficult to source…
Cocktails using Falernum:
OXO Tower Dark N’ Stormy
2 measures Goslings Black Seal Rum
2 – 5 dashes Aromatic Bitters
½ measure Fresh Lime juice
½ measure Barbados Made Golden Falernum
Top Up Organic Ginger Beer
– Combine the first 4 ingredients in a shaker (over ice) and shake for around 10 seconds.
– Then strain into your serving glass, over ice.
– Top up with the ginger beer and garnish with a lime wheel/wedge.
Note: I could not get the exact measurements that the staff at the OXO tower use, which is a shame, but I have perused some online recipes and compared them to come to the above recipe… I’m open for comments as to your favourite recipes…
1 measure Velvet Falernum
1.5 measures Dark Rum
¾ measures Fresh Lime Juice
– Combine ingredients over ice and shake well (around 10-15 seconds).
– Strain into a cocktail glass (I prefer a coupe glass).
– Garnish with a lime wedge…
A classic recipe, this cocktail is Caribbean all over, combining rum and Falernum to create a sweet and tangy masterpiece. At a glance this cocktail looks rather similar to the dark n stormy I’ve listed above, but I believe it’s most likely where the OXO Tower got their idea from. Still this is a great cocktail and should not be sniffed at (unless of course you actually want to sniff it).
Corn N’ Oil
1 measure Bacardi Gold Rum
¼ measure Velvet Falernum
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
– Stir all the ingredients over ice, and strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass.
This cocktail is a mystery in that no one knows where the name came from, although there are rumours that the strangely thick (almost oily) BlackStrap rum is the reason the ‘oil’ is in the name…
4 measures Goslings Black Seal Rum
1 measure Wray & Nephews overproof rum
1.5 measures Velvet Falernum
2 measures Fresh Lime Juice
½ measure Sugar Syrup
– Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled glass.
– Squeeze piece of lime peel over the drink and place in the glass.
– Serve with straws.
This drink is also very much like a Dark N’ Stormy, but with a massive smack in the face from the overproof rum. With the addition of Ginger Beer (to top) this drink becomes a pumped up Dark N’ Stormy, but at the same times lengthens this rather tricky drink…
1.5 measures Light Rum
1 measure Orange Juice
½ measure Falernum
¼ measure Maraschino Liqueur
– Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into an ice filled, chilled rocks glass.
– Garnish with a lime wedge.
1.5 measures Gin
½ Fresh Lime Juice
¼ measure Falernum
¼ measure Dark Jamaican Rum
– Shake the ingredients over ice and strain into a well-chilled martini cocktail glass.
– Garnish with a pineapple stick/finger.
These cocktails all have Falernum as an ingredient, but also all taste different. This is both a testament to the Syrup/Liqueur’s depth of flavour, but also its versatility as a cocktail ingredient. It is for these reasons that it’s my product of the month… Hopefully you all enjoy it and get a chance to experience the recipes I’ve listed above!