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Makes about 24 ounces
A spiced tonic of Caribbean origin, falernum is richly textured, a beautiful amber color, and redolent of clove, lime, and almond. It's quite lovely on its own over ice, but my favorite way to use it is in a Jet Pilot Cocktail.
2 long peppercorns
15 allspice berries
1 star anise
30 cinnamon buds
30 grams almonds (something flavorful like Sicilian ones or Marconas)
4-5 whole mace blades
6 ounces white overproof rum (180 ml) - prefer Wray & Nephew
2 ounces aged rum (60 ml) - prefer El Dorado 12 Yr
1/4 cup fresh lime zest (8-12 limes, depending on size‡
3 ounces (by weight) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (85 grams)
2" piece of vanilla bean, split
2 ounces orgeat (60ml)
1 1/2 cups sugar (320 grams)
8 ounces water (240ml)
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat toast the long pepper, cloves, star anise, cinnamon buds, and cloves for a few minutes, until fragrant. Gently crush them along with the mace blades, and combine with the two rums, the lime zest, ginger, and vanilla in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
Allow the jar to steep in a cool and dark place for 3 days, shaking occasionally. Strain the liquid into a clean jar (reserve the solids), and add the orgeat, sugar, and water. Cap, and shake well to combine and to dissolve the sugar.
Store in the refrigerator for up to a year. Some separation is normal, simply shake to recombine, or decant off the solids for a crystal clear product.
‡You will be left with a bunch of naked limes that you can juice. Either freeze the juice for later, or use to make fun cocktails like an Autumn Margarita, a Fire Bird, or a Citronelle. I tend to freeze lime juice in 1/2 ounce quantities, as that's a common amount in many of my recipes.
Add 2 tsp toasted mahlab kernels to the mix for a bit of bitterness.
Bitters Heat more rum (half the amount called for above) and re-infuse the solids. Allow to infuse for 3 days, then strain and adjust bitterness with gentian extract and/or quinine to your preferences. Keeps in a sealed container at room temperature indefinitely.
• My favorite is in a Jet Pilot cocktail, and it's equally at home in many more.
• Try soaking fruit in a small quantity and using to top ice cream or to add to pastry.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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