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Feb 9, 2013 10:10 PM

Falernum et al.

I've got a healthy amount of falernum. Beyond the standard falernum cocktails and the Chartreuse Swizzle, where else can I use it?

In my efforts to clean house tonight, I threw together said falernum and some sweet vermouth and was pretty pleased with the combination. Decided to up the ante and turn it into a full-on cocktail.
The cocktail:
1-1/2 oz gin (Plymouth)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin Rouge)
1/2 oz falernum (Paul Clarke's #8)
1/4 oz lime juice
Dash orange bitters (Fee Bros.)

The verdict:
Not bad. I'd up the citrus and switch to a more aggressive base spirit (tequila, agricole, or rye), however it has potential to be enjoyed for reasons other than its status as a non-failure. Anyone adventurous enough to give it a go and share your findings?

And while on the subject of perishable homemades; orgeat and grenadine are warding off vacancy in my refrigerator. Any favorites of yours that use them?

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  1. Get into Tiki drinks. Falernum and orgeat are all over the place.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Amen. Test pilot is one of my personal favorites.

      For the grenadine, a Jack Rose is a lovely thing that shows it off well. And most of my orgeat goes into mai tais and non-alcoholic spritzers. Love the stuff.

      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        I know. I just find the sheer quantity of ingredients intimidating for them. Any particular recommendations?

        1. re: alphanumeric

          And a great deal of Falernum drinks involve scads of ingredients already.

          Aha, found one in Beachbum Berry's volumes that uses common ingredients.

          Golden Wave
          3/4 oz lemon juice
          1 oz pineapple juice
          1/2 oz triple sec
          1/2 oz falernum
          1 oz light rum
          3/4 c crushed ice

          Blend on high for 5 seconds. Pour into a champagne glass.

      2. Ja Mon
        by Dan Chadwick, Kindred Cocktails

        1 oz Cachaça
        1 oz Dark rum
        1/2 oz Añejo rum
        1 t Walnut Liqueur, Nux Alpina
        3/4 oz Grapefruit juice
        3/4 oz Lime juice
        3/4 oz Falernum, Velvet Falernum
        4 ds Orange bitters

        Shake, strain, straight up, cocktail glass. Garnish with orange if desired

        Makes 1 huge drink or two small ones. I need to work this to scale it to a more reasonable size with non-crazy fractions.

        -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

        5 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Just made this. Thank you for giving me a drink to use my nocino in! A bit sweet, but a novel combination of falernum, nocino, and cachaça.

          *I did deviate slightly from your posted instructions: I used a DOF instead of a cocktail glass. Alas, my 5+ oz. cocktail glasses are nowhere to be found.

          1. re: alphanumeric

            Odd. Should definitely not be sweet. Maybe your grapefruit was sweet? Or your dark rums?

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              I was a bit surprised, because I wouldn't have imagined you creating a sweet drink.

              I used pink grapefruit juice rather than white, but I'm fairly certain the matter is with my rum selections. What are the rums you're making it with? I have a sadly limited rum cabinet so I had to make do with a motley hodgepodge.

              1. re: alphanumeric

                Pink grapefruit juice is much sweeter than white.

                1. re: alphanumeric

                  I probably used pink grapefruit too, but they too vary quite a bit from sweet to quite tart. And lime juice varies too. You should always adjust a cocktail's sugar balance to your liking. Looking at the recipe again, it does look like it could easily come out too sweet. I should revisit this recipe, and make it smaller, too.

                  I originally made it with Zacappa 23, which is hideously sweet. I think I used Old Monk subsequently, which has a lot of molasses flavor, but not much sugar.

         | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

          2. Not sure what you are referring to as "the standard falernum cocktails" as I don't think there are any "standard" cocktails that use falernum. Perhaps the Rum Swizzle family, which generally includes rum and falernum.

            Corn 'n Oil I guess might be one of the better known since the recipe is printed on some bottles of Velvet Falernum.

            The Zombie and Jet Pilot are two of my favorites, but those require a pretty full arsenal of Tiki ingredients.

            There is also the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and Robert Hess' Voyager. I've tried them both and they're both pretty decent. Of the two I prefer the Royal Bermuda.

            For orgeat, I enjoy the Japanese Cocktail. For grenadine, Cesar’s Rum Punch uses a whole lot, and goes down pretty easy.

            5 Replies
            1. re: nickls

              I tried the Cesar's Rum Punch at your recommendation a while ago and liked it.

              By 'standard', I was referring to swizzles, Corn 'n Oil, and Zombie. Embarrassingly, I had not yet tried a Zombie until recently because I haven't had a grapefruit lying around.

              Could you post your Jet Pilot recipe? The ones I've seen look suspiciously similar to a Zombie.

              1. re: alphanumeric

                I'm looking at them now, and the two are indeed suspiciously similar.

                Jet Pilot
                1/2 oz lime juice
                1/2 oz grapefruit juice
                1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
                1/2 oz falernum
                1 oz dark rum
                3/4 oz gold rum
                3/4 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
                1 dash Angostura bitters
                1/8 tsp pernod

                Blend with 1/2 cup crushed ice for 5 seconds. Pour into a double rocks glass.

                3/4 oz lime juice
                1/2 oz zombie mix (2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup)
                1/2 oz falernum
                1 1/2 oz gold rum
                1 1/2 oz dark rum
                1 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
                1 dash Angostura bitters
                1/8 tsp Pernod
                1 tsp grenadine

                Blend on high with 3/4 cup crushed ice. Pour into a tall glass, adding ice to fill.

                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  The Test Pilot recipe I use is a little simpler:

                  1/2 oz lime juice
                  1/2 oz falernum
                  3 teaspoons Cointreau
                  1 1/2 oz dark rum
                  3/4 oz light rum
                  1 dash Angostura bitters
                  6 drops Pernod

                  Blend with crushed ice.

                  (Courtesy of Don the Beachcomber by way of Beachbum Berry.)

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    I've made them both side by side, although it was 5-6 years ago, (I've made just about every recipe in the Bum's books) and from what I vaguely recall, while the ingredients are almost the same, the flavor of each was different enough to be separate cocktails, or strong variants. From what Jeff writes Don the Beachcomber invented the Zombie (1934) several years before the Jet Pilot (1941).

                    Those two drinks really show how proportions can really change a drink, and how one additional ingredient can hold forth noticeably. Also how little or much you blend the ice.

                    I'm currently consulting to a small restaurant group on their bar/beverages, bringing in a new, vintage tiki heavy cocktail menu, and I'm planning on doing a study in a few weeks on blending ice. How rough or fine, proportions ice to liquid, etc. and how it effects the flavor outcome.

                    I wish I could go back to the Tiki heyday and spend a few weeks roaming the country tasting the best. At TotC a few years ago I had a great lunch with Jeff Berry and Ted Haigh, discussing the nuances of tiki drinks and history. But this aspect of blending never came up. Cocktail geeks of the world, stand up and rev those blenders!

                    1. re: JMF

                      Please get back to us on that ice study. Kazuo Uyeda has a nicely scientific analysis of ice, but not in quite the same vein of which you speak.

                      The "problem" I find with tiki drinks is that they're generally good, but homogeneous enough that I find it hard to distinguish on memory alone. Side-to-side's would undoubtedly be more helpful.

              2. I'd agree with Nickls regarding Corn n Oil being the cocktail de force for falurnum. The best I've had came from the legendary Murray Stenson, when he was at the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle. If I recall his was Made with Blackstrap Rum, falernum, a couple of squeezes of wedges on the rocks. I had faith that it would be amazing since I've never had a miss with his precision poured concoctions. Sure enough, I was thoroughly impressed with the drink.

                I don't recall if Murray used bitters, but recipes that I've seen do call for it.

                I've also had the Ninth Ward twist found in Difford's guide, which calls for bourbon and elderflower liqueur. Nice pairing of bold bourbon Flavors with falunurm.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FlavorDesignr

                  Yes, the Corn 'n Oil was the first drink I made with my falernum and I would third that opinion.

                  Thanks for the Ninth Ward rec. I like the concept.

                2. For Dark Jamaican Rum I highly recommend using Coruba - since switching to that versus Apple Extra 12 year I like the flavor profile of the drinks considerably

                  tiki drinks always call for white marsh grapefruit - never pink

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dapuma

                    Yes about only using white grapefruit. Several years ago Julie Reiner told me that it is both more consistent in flavor, has a stronger flavor, and isn't sweet. So it is easier to have consistent cocktails. Both classics, and tiki.

                    1. re: JMF

                      Plus the white ones are great for breakfast :)