||Make Your Own Falernum
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Jul 17, 2014
|Posted: 2016-01-11 11:20 am  Permalink|
Alright, so my first batch is done. I tried to make cold process rich sugar syrup in a small Kitchenaid mixer and after a couple minutes of blending it was just cloudy with tons of excess sugar floating up to the top of the container so I decided to pour it into bottle and shake like crazy. Paul Clarke says to shake for 5 minutes. Swiz said shake a bit and let it rest, then repeat a few times over 10 minutes. My wife found something online that says just let it sit for 45 minutes and all the sugar will dissolve. Well I shook... and shook... and shook... and shook with several minutes rests in between over the course of an hour and the sugar never dissolved. So I said screw it and boiled that down which took like one minute but I didn't want to wait for that to cool before mixing with my 24 hour zest/clove/ginger solution so I just grabbed rich sugar syrup I had previously made (hot process) that I store at room temperature and mixed it with the solution, added appropriate almond extract and lime juice and voila, I have something that resembles Falernum #8!
We put it to the test....
My wife, three friends and I all tried the three options and the reviews were pretty mixed. Ultimately, they are all very different. Velvet is a mild flavored liqueur, Fees is a thick sweetened syrup, and the homemade had nice flavor but I wouldn't say it was hands down the winner. Everyone seems to swear by homemade falernum saying it's life changing and you'll never go back to store bought, but I gotta say, it didn't blow me away. For one, the added lime juice at the end made it too citrus-y. Next time I will omit that because the zest does plenty to bring in the citrus element. But at the end of the day, all three options have their merits and entirely different flavors so the ultimate test will be seeing how they fare in mixed cocktails to determine which works best. I anticipate depending on the cocktail, any one of these can reign supreme.
Once I get near the end of this bottle I'll do my next batch using LH151 as my overproof rum, leave out the lime juice, and either increase the almond extract or include toasted almonds because the ginger and lime completely overshadow any of the flavor the 1/4 tsp of extract may have provided.
Grand Member (3 years)
Joined: May 09, 2012
From: San Diego
|Posted: 2016-01-11 11:40 am  Permalink|
Mike, start experimenting. I have my own recipe that I use that is many recipes combined and then changed to my taste. I use very little ginger and I never put lime juice into the mix. I like the way mine turns out and the way it blends into drinks, and a lot of my friends that stop by want the recipe. My advice is, don't stick to a recipe, make it taste the way you want it to taste.
Grand Member (4 years)
Joined: Apr 03, 2008
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
|Posted: 2016-01-11 11:59 am  Permalink|
Mike, good feedback. You're certainly right, all three Falernmums have their application in various drinks. I've never had my Falernum come out too citrusy, so I'm not sure how that happens. The Falernum is in many drinks a background player in what can become a very complex and layered effect on the palate. And if it is citrusy, that's part of its flavor profile, and it blends well with other rum/sugar/lime concoctions.
I'm remembering reading that early in the 20th century some drank Falernum neat, or on-the-rocks, and that it had a pleasant yet assertive and definitive taste on its own. So the real Falernum goal for me personally is to take "period-similar" ingredients and come up with "period-similar" cocktails.
Let us know how your LH151-extracted Falernum turns out -- I'm guessing the LH151 will be an even stronger extractive solvent for the lime and clove and ginger oils than the Wray & Nephew. I'm sure it will be tasty, and hearty in its own unique way. You may need to dial back the spices due to the higher proof of the LH151.
Joined: Jun 03, 2007
|Posted: 30 days ago; 7:13 pm  Permalink|
On 2016-01-11 11:20, mikehooker wrote:
Velvet is a mild flavored liqueur, Fees is a thick sweetened syrup, and the homemade had nice flavor but I wouldn't say it was hands down the winner. Everyone seems to swear by homemade falernum saying it's life changing and you'll never go back to store bought, but I gotta say, it didn't blow me away.
Totally agree with each thing you've said here mikehooker except unfortunately i cannot do a comparison against all three as i don't have any homemade and can only go by my experience of my first and only time i've made my own. Last year when was in the U.S. i brought some Wray $ Nephew O/P home with me and made the #8 recipe using that (although i cut the number of cloves back by about half as i hate the flavour of cloves) and can't say i was blown away by the finished product. I remember it being okay but nothing special.
I really should have another go at making some more as now i actually have some Fees and the Velvet to compare it to but sadly my options for O/P rum are not only extremely limited, but also very expensive. My only choices, that i can think of that i can get easily, are Bacardi 151 and Bundaberg, and i'm not sure i want to go down either of those roads. Inner Circle is another brand that makes an O/P but unfortunately not only was that difficult to find in the first place, the one place that i could get it now no longer stocks the brand. My only other option is a an O/P neutral grain alcohol.