Falernum is a Caribbean concoction of rum, sugar, lime, ginger, almond and spices (usually allspice and cloves) – a Tiki staple that plays nice with so much more than just rum. The problem is that it can be tricky to find and while the easiest one to come by – John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum – is nice stuff, it’s not a patch on a really good golden falernum. The internet abounds with home-made falernum recipes but they often go a bit funky after a few weeks and take up valuable fridge space. They can also be a bit labour intensive. If only there were a way to make a shelf stable golden falernum cheaply and easily that would keep at room temperature for many, many months. I got this.
The following might be a bit controversial but please hear me out. Lime is a key component of falernum and all the recipes I’ve seen use fresh lime juice or peel. Which is why they go off. It occurred to me that, given that falernum contains both lime and sugar perhaps those two ingredients could be replaced with Rose’s Lime Cordial – which is, of course pretty much imperishable. OMG. Did he actually just suggest using that nasty stuff? Hang on – stay with me guys! So, I decided to give it a go and eventually came up with this recipe and – in my humble opinion – it’s good. Damn good. I’m prepared to concede that a fresh lime version might have the edge but in a cocktail this recipe is easily good enough. It’s certainly waaaaaay better than Taylor’s. Proceed as follows…
Shelf Stable Falernum (about 500ml)
Crush gently in a mortar and pestle 12 cloves and 6 dried allspice berries. Don’t try to powder them, just crack them open a bit. Put the remains into a small jar with 150ml of dry gold rum of at least 40% ABV (I use Havana Club Anejo Especial). Leave for two days, shaking well at least twice per day.
Allspice and cloves
Extracting the spicy goodness
2 days later:
Filter the rum and spice mix until clear with a paper coffee filter.
Make 150ml of 1.5 : 1 sugar syrup (150ml sugar to 100ml boiled water).
Mix both of the above with:
120ml Rose’s Lime Cordial.
80ml ginger syrup (often found in the baking section of your supermarket).
Half a teaspoon (2.5ml) almond extract (really, that is plenty).
Half a teaspoon of citric acid crystals (if you skip this it will probably still be fine).
Mix well and pour into a clean sterilised bottle.
Shelf stable golden falernum
Give it a good shake now and then in the first few days and after that just before use. If you’ve done this right it should keep for a minimum of 6 months. Maybe longer – I’ve always finished it all before then…
XXX Update XXX
Two years and many batches later I can confirm that there is still no spoilage after 9 months at room temperature.
XXX Update 2 XXX
Five and a half years later (and still the most read article here by far). These days I’m using 100ml of Mount Gay Eclipse and 50ml of Wray & Nephew overproof as the rum component. Also I should add that the recipe has a tendency to flocculate. In other words small flecks can form in the mixture. Note that this is not spoilage – just certain components falling out of solution. Just give it a hard shake until they disappear.