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Falernum: The Topic

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The color is the least of my worries, as long as it tastes good. You should have seen that thing yesterday. We tried adding a shot of rum to improve it, but there was way too much falernum and the drink was not salvageable (add to the list of Cocktails that (should) end up in the sink).

It's a Bajan drink anyway, right?

I was wondering about that. It's a Caribbean drink for sure, but is it specific to Barbados?

I got hooked during a vacation in Saint Lucia. The local grocery store in Soufriere was lacking eggs or butter, but had plenty of Chairman's Reserve and falernum, and that's how I ended up making my first Corn n' Oil.

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Hassouni   

OK a round of googling tells me that while it may not have been invented there, the drink first rose to popularity in Barbados

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Corn n' Oil last night with a couple of ounces of Barbados Plantation 5 years, 1/4 ounces of homemade falernum, and a little squeeze of lime, on crushed ice. The falernum has mellowed out since I made it a few weeks ago; it has a very rich caramelized flavor - in summary, it's really delicious.

And 1/4 oz was plenty of falernum for me - with this recipe, it is very concentrated.

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Tri2Cook   

Started a new batch of falernum today. My prized bottle of Lemon Hart 151 took a whole lot of time and a bit of negotiating to get my hands on. I'm very stingy with it because I have no idea when or if I'll ever have a chance to get my hands on another bottle. So there wasn't even the slightest chance any of it was going into the making of falernum. Replacing my bottle of W&N overproof may be a little easier to do but still not without difficulty... but I was willing to sacrifice enough to do a split between it and an 80 proof rum to get a 100-ish proof base.

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Hassouni   

I discovered to my horror that I'm out of falernum. Given that limes cost what they do now, I'm considering going the Velvet route. What's the verdict on that versus homemade?

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Rafa   

Comparatively bland, but serviceable. Sweet and clove-y, without a lot of depth. 

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Hassouni   

Bollocks, to my even greater horror I just now realized I'm out of WNOP (I made an audible gasp when I checked my vice closet). Sounds like I need to get some of that, get some limes (also, my MicroPlane has disappeared  :angry: ). Given all that, is there any commercial stuff comparable to homemade?

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lesliec   

Rafa's being kind.  My description of Velvet would be more like 'bloody awful'.

 

I see a shopping trip in your future.  W&N, limes, new Microplane ...  What recipe do you favour?

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Hassouni   

I made Elmegirab's before, but it seems overly complicated compared to some of the others. Good news though, I found my microplane!

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Comparatively bland, but serviceable. Sweet and clove-y, without a lot of depth. 

 

 

Reckon you could start with Taylor's as a base and boost the flavours with Nitro Cavitation?

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Hassouni   

Anyone made both Adam E's and Kaiser P's recipes, and if so, how do they compare?

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lesliec   

Haven't done Adam's - it's on the list - but KP's is great. His 'five minute' one tastes identical to his 'soak overnight' one.

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Hassouni   

I don't have an isi thingy, so I think the regular KP is what I'll attempt for my next batch

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lesliec   

Go for it. The hardest/most tedious part is zesting eight limes and zero fingers.

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How important is it that the rum is overproof? In terms of reasonably-priced over-proof rums my options are Bundaberg and Inner Circle. Bacardi 151 is expensive. I've never had the overproof version of Bundaberg but I suspect it's considerably more restrained in terms of its flavour profile than IC Green.

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They make an overpriced single origin organic barrel version that's super smooth and I know it's super smooth because that's the official tasting note. Smooth! Of course it's a rum!

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Tri2Cook   

How important is it that the rum is overproof?

Speaking as a non-expert, I don't find it to be essential. My most recent batch was done with 100-ish proof but all batches I've done before that were done with 80 proof and, with the disclaimer that I had nothing to compare to, they turned out perfectly fine. I just increased both the amount of ingredients and infusion time a bit and added less syrup at the end. But I add less syrup to falernum and allspice dram than usually called for anyway. Maybe I wouldn't if I was using 151 but that's never been an available option unless I want to use Bacardi... which goes for $45 a bottle here.

 

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That question was, in fact, a typographical error. What I really meant to ask was: how important is it for me to use a white rum? Is dark rum okay?

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Hassouni   

I would say overproof is much more important than the color of the rum. If you want a Velvet-y creation, go for light, but if you don't care, use whatever. In any case if you put in the 40-50 cloves that most people recommend, even white rum will take on a decent bit of color.

 

Overproof on the other hand, will extract your infused ingredients better. I go for Wray & Nephew OP (white) or LH151 (dark). One note about using the WN, its signature funk will be noticeable in the final product, but that's no bad thing as far as I'm concerned  :biggrin:

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Hassouni   

Cool, I just got a bunch of limes for the same. Post your results!

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Hassouni   

Started a batch based on IC Green. Used the K.Penguin recipe.

 

Just completed the Kaiser P recipe, using Wray and Nephew, of course. I wasn't able to add ginger until about halfway through, but otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter.

 

It's nice* but I think the Elmegirab recipe is more interesting - it has a higher content of lime zest, and a wider array of spices. The lime is evident in the KP recipe, as are the cloves and especially the allspice, but really the most dominant flavor is the sugar. Perhaps the flavor will change after a couple days' settling.

 

*I still have not tried Taylor's Velvet Falernum, so I don't really know what my reference standard is.

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