October 24th, 2010
Through the years, falernum has been considered a drink in itself, a liqueur, or simply an ingredient. To most, and to me, it’s one in the same.
The earliest years that I found falernum mentioned in print was in the late 1800′s (although it’s believed to have been around as early as the mid 1700s.) The recipe consisted of “one part sweet, one part sour, one part weak and one part strong,” with the ingredients being: simple syrup (sweet,) lime (sour,) water (weak,) and rum (strong.) As the Tiki years came around, the recipe got that much more interesting.
In my quest to perfect the “Zombie” cocktail, I realized i needed a good falernum as a key ingredient. This caused me to go into learning mode and obsess over the history, old recipes, new recipes, as well as the science of flavor infusion and fermentation that goes along with wine and spirits making. In the end, i’ve come up with my own recipe. The reason i call it “Nut Tree Falernum #1″ is because my last name (Noteboom) translates in it’s native Dutch to “Nut Tree” (go figure, haha,) and #1 symbolizes my first version (seems lots of folks number their recipes) that i just started to make today. Hope it goes well:
Nut Tree Falernum #1:
6 oz dark Havana Club single barrel rum
2 oz white Havana Club rum
9 medium sized limes worth of zest only, micro-grated
2 cardamom pods
1/4 cup slivered, dry-roasted almonds
1/4 cup peeled, micro-grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
“Stinger Syrup” consists of:
1 part local honey
1 part mint leaves
1 part Fiji brand water
STEPS / NOTES:
1) Wash the 9 medium sized limes (or more smaller ones– i happen to like the smaller, ripe ones) under very hot water– not just to clean, but to make sure that the grocery snake oilmen didn’t put wax on the fruit to make it look good. If so, get the wax off, as that’s no bueno and will corrupt your falernum. Micro-grate the zest off the limes, getting the green only into its own bowl. Avoid the white behind the green zest, as that’s no bueno either.
2) Peel and micro-grate 1/4 cups worth of fresh ginger, into its own bowl. I haven’t seen anyone else do this, and i think it helps make the flavor pop.
3) Sliver 1/4 cup of whole dry-roasted almonds, without cutting your finger off. Fresh whole almonds is key because fresh= good almond oil. Combine in it’s own bowl with 40 fresh cloves and 2 fresh cardamom pods. Mix these ingredients together and then brown them all over medium heat in a non-stick pan. This allows the oils and flavors to come out of the nuts and the spices. You should smell and see it. Be careful not to burn anything on you or your ingredients.
4) Combine the lime zest, ginger and almond/clove/cardamom mixture into one bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Mix that shit up good.
5) Add 6 oz of Cuban dark rum (I used 45% Havana Club barrel proof) and 2 oz of Cuban clear rum (I used 40% Havana Club) into a one pint Mason jar (wash that shit out good with hot water beforehand.) Note that smuggling Cuban rum into the US helps continue the tradition of rum running and increases your testosterone level a bit through feeling like an outlaw.
6) Put your mixture into the Mason jar with the rum. Seal that shit up tight. Shake it up good. Let it infuse for 48 hours it in a place where temperature is cool and light levels are dim for a couple days. I keep it in my basement. See, it’s totally being a poseur, with Anissa’s tapa cloth and my turtle shell instrument. (NOTE: infusing is different than fermentation. Nothing is rotting over this 48 hour period. Therefore, don’t let it infuse for more than 4 days or so.)
7) Next, make up a batch of my “Stinger Syrup,” by combining 1 part honey, 1 part water and 1 part fresh mint leaves in a pan. Medium heat it all until the honey breaks up and combines with the water. Strain the mint leaves out when you’re done. Bottle what you don’t use for your falernum. (NOTES: I’m using this honey syrup over regular “Simple Syrup” (made of sugar and water) because i think honey’s longer fermentation timeline works better than sugar for this case, and i think that the flavor is likely better suited to the other flavors in the falernum. Think about it: spices, nutty, rum, limey…. better matches honey.)
Now go to the basement and get your mason jar of your 48 hour infused rum mixture. Pour your mixture through a coffee filter (or cheese cloth) from your infusing Mason jar, into a new clean one. It should leave about 8 oz of clean, infused rum. Next add 8 oz of the Stinger Syrup. Put the top on the jar and shake that shit up.
9) You are done, and your mixture should stay good for a month. That said…
IMPORTANT NOTE: your 16 oz of Falernum will still need another 4 oz of lime juice mixed into it before serving. I highly recommend not adding the lime juice until the day you are going to be drinking the Falernum. Otherwise, the lime juice starts to ferment pretty quickly and will quickly destroy the taste you are looking for. We are not looking to ferment the lime juice– we want the original lime flavor.
MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: I came up with this recipe by reading a whole bunch of other Falernum recipes, as well as wine and spirits making tips. I even adjusted the recipe based on feedback from my mom, who is a good cook and advised me to lessen my ginger and nutmeg content. My recipe has a couple unique things about it, but is more based on inspiration than invention. Thanks to everybody that can take credit for influencing me. It’s infusing right now, so i’ll let you know how this tastes in a couple days…..
Entry Filed under: Uncategorized