How to Make Falernum
“…a curious liqueur composed from rum and lime juice.” – Charles Dickens, 1892
- Skip to the Falernum Recipe
- What’s Ahead Contents
- Drinks made with Falernum
Falernum – Falernum is a unique cocktail syrup used in tropical and Tiki drinks. You make falernum with almond, ginger, lime and an assortment of Caribbean spices. Allspice, cloves and vanilla are often added to the mix. You can make it as either a non-alcoholic syrup or a liqueur.
What is Falernum?
- Falernum originated in the Caribbean. Written descriptions date to the 1890’s. but it may have originated much earlier.
- Falernum is a cousin to Orgeat Syrup. While they are both almond based syrups falernum is more complex. The big differences are the spices, lime, and alcohol.
- There are commercial varieties available both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum has been on the market longest. It is a liqueur. The Bitter Truth released a Golden Falernum liqueur. Fee Brother’s sells a non-alcoholic falernum syrup.
- Finding falernum can be difficult. Making your own is also a bit of a pain. But it is so worth trying. The difference in flavor with a fresh batch is amazing.
- Pronounce it fah-LEARN-um, fah-LEHR-num, or fay-LEARN-um. You pick. Like so:
Falernum is a complex mix of flavors. It is a rich, thick golden amber syrup. The almond and lime flavors come through on the front and temper the spicier notes. The spices make their presence known on the back end finishing with a pleasant tangy burn.
There is a lot going on here flavor wise. This is a versatile syrup. It is used in classic tiki, tropical and Caribbean drinks. There is no need to limit yourself to tropical flavors. Falernum also works well paired with coffee, gin, and several other surprising flavors.
- 1½ cups blanched almonds preferably with the skin removed, coarsely chopped (slivered almonds are fine if you can’t find whole ones)
- ½ cup peeled roughly chopped ginger
- 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp. whole allspice
- 4 star anise pods
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 quart white sugar
- 2 quarts filtered water
- Place almonds in a large glass jar, cover with 1 quart of water and seal. Let sit, shaking occasionally, for 30 hours minutes. Strain the almonds, discarding the water and washing out the jar.
- Roughly chop the almonds, place them back in the jar, cover with the remaining 1 quart of water and seal. Let sit, shaking occasionally for 4 hours or place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Place the cloves, allspice and star anise in a large saucepan over medium heat, tossing frequently. After one minute, add the contents of the jar to the saucepan.
- Add ginger and sugar to saucepan, stirring continuously. When mixture nears a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, clean the emptied glass jar.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add the lime zest and stir.
- Pour the contents back into the cleaned glass jar, seal and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a large measuring cup. For every 5 ounces of syrup, add 1 ounce of rum. Stir well to integrate. Distribute into
- fresh bottles, cap and refrigerate. Will keep for up to 2 weeks.