Falernum

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After the pity party in Interregnum, here’s a bit of actual recipe doings. Cocktails were the part I’d had a particular eye on for the other Saturday’s entertainment. I’d been reading about tiki cocktails and saw this as an excuse to try a few, as well as to make up a batch of Falernum, a spiced syrup/liqueur integral to quite a few classics. What I created was based on perusing a whole bunch of online info (I’ve not shelled out for the rather fine-looking Beachbum Berry Remixed yet, but hope to soon). While there was a wealth of good stuff to be found, I narrowed it down to variations on Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles version, courtesy of Post-Prohibition, Chowhound and Punch.

Falernum

  • 180ml Overproof rum (I used a mix of Wray & Nephew and Wood’s Old Navy Rum)
  • Zest of 9 limes, avoiding all pith
  • 35 cloves
  • 2 tbsp blanched almonds
  • 3 inch nub of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 180ml water
  • 360ml unrefined caster sugar (measure by volume, twice the amount as the water)
  • a few drops almond essence
  • 45ml lime juice

Crush the almonds roughly, then toast on a medium heat with the cloves until the nuts take slight colour and both become fragrant. Remove them from heat. Meanwhile, zest your limes (a fine microplane is ideal for this). Grate the ginger (a fine microplane will get clogged up doing this). Add the almonds, cloves, lime zest and grated ginger to the rum in a clean, sealable jar. Close it up, give it a shake and put it out of the way for 24 hours.

The next day, make a 2:1 syrup with the water and sugar (I cheated and warmed them up together, wiser heads suggest doing it cold for a better flavour, but that takes more effort). While that’s dissolving, strain the infusion through muslin or a fine sieve, squeezing any remaining liquid out. Add to that the fresh lime juice, along with a few drops of almond essence and then finally the sugar syrup. You should have just over 500ml of Falernum. It’s advised to let the flavours settle for 24 hours before use and, given the fresh juice and unboiled sugar, I wouldn’t give it more than a few weeks to keep in the fridge in a sealed bottle.

I shall report back further when I’ve had a chance to make some cocktails with it, but I can at least say a slug of it goes very well with good apple juice and soda water on lots of ice.

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