Falernum (pronounced Fa-learn-um) is a sweet liqueur syrup that derives from the island of Barbados. This liqueur was crafted to mostly pair with tiki/tropical drinks and contains a rum base with almond, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lime. Bartenders and mixing enthusiasts alike use Falernum to add a flavor of spice to enhance the drinking experience.
This type of syrup liqueur can fall under nonalcoholic and alcoholic categories, with ones that contain alcohol typically ranging from eleven to fifteen percent ABV (alcohol by volume). Having a thicker consistency, the liqueur is also referred to as “velvet falernum”, describing the texture one would feel on their tongue after drinking. Its color varies depending on the company producing it, ranging from white, light amber, to even clear.
What is Falernum Liqueur?
As mentioned before, Falernum is believed to have originated from 17th century Barbados, formulated at multiple sugar estate distilleries around the area. Containing a mostly oral history, the name of this syrup derives from the ancient Roman wine called Falernian (falernum in Latin).
All of the recipes slightly differ depending on which estate processed the liqueur, but earlier Falernum recipes were said to have been made with only sugar, rum, and lime juice. Traditionally, the addition of spices to the recipes is what set the estate distilleries apart once it came to mass commercial production.
In the book Explore Barbados, it is proclaimed that Bajan Henry Parkinson was the first to mix the Falernum ingredients, but it was his great-grandson Arthur Stansfield who brought the recipe to the States in 1934. This syrup gained a majority of its popularity once Donn Beach invented the tiki bar in 1931. Donn Beach also claimed to have invented the Mai Tai cocktail which included the Falernum syrup.
Falernum Liqueur used in Recipes
There is a wide variety of well-known cocktail recipes that benefit from Falernum’s spicy sweetness. Many ranges from daiquiris to margaritas and mai tais. This syrup is currently manufactured by different companies and can be sought under the names Velvet Falernum, Hanschell’s Old Time Recipe Falernum, The Bitter Truth Falernum, the Fee Brothers West Indies Style Falernum, and the Difford’s Falernum.
The majority of these recipes remain light and refreshing, with a spicy and fruity base that is most enjoyable in warmer climates with Falernum substitutes. Some popular cocktails mixed with Falernum include the Chartreuse Sizzle, Difford’s Mai Tai, Nuclear Banana Daiquiri, and the Zombie.
Falernum Liqueur Substitutes
1. Orgeat Syrup
Orgeat is a simple sweet syrup that works well in mixed cocktails and is produced in a wide variety of flavorings such as almond, mango, barley, and orange flower. As orgeat was created to be non-alcoholic, it’s a great mixing base to build with whichever alcohol serves best according to the recipe.
Most of these syrups contain a milky golden color. This can be found in France, as this is where it originates from, but it can also be found in American liqueur markets. Some well-known orgeat cocktails include the Tender Nob, Trinidad Sour, Zapatero, Tallulah, and the Holy Water.
As it relates to Falernum, the French Garnier Orgeat syrup would be the perfect substitute as it has similar flavorings and an authentic taste.
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a more readily accessible ingredient to substitute, as it can easily be found within your kitchen or the local market. This particular product is curated from the xylem sap of red, black, and sugar maple trees.
Maple syrup is mostly produced and popularized within the American and Canadian markets and is used mostly for food-related recipes such as porridges, pancakes, oatmeals, French toasts, and waffles.
Some cocktails that are mixed with maple syrup include the Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour, the Shrubarita, the Jubilee, and the Autumn Rickey. Even though this syrup is mainly used in breakfast and baking recipes, its sweetness and consistency have proved to be a sufficient substitute for Falernum.
Grenadine is one of the most common and bar-accessible mixing ingredients that is a sweet, colorful substitute for Falernum. With a combination of sweet and tart, Grenadine is a non-alcoholic bar syrup that contains a reddish-pink color.
Though it’s traditionally made with pomegranate, water, and sugar, it can also be formulated with blackcurrant juice. This is a very flexible option as a substitute, as it can be mixed with or without alcohol to create a light and refreshing drink. Some well-known grenadine cocktails include the Tequila Sunrise, the (Dirty) Shirley Temple, the Zombie cocktail, and the El Presidente Cocktail.
Horchata, which can be served hot or cold, is a plant-based milk drink that is similar to the look and taste of Falernum. This is a great substitute for those who are searching for an ingredient that favors health consciousness and lactose intolerance.
There are Spanish versions of the Horchata which consists of soaking, grounding, and sweetening tiger nuts. The Mexican Horchata parallels a similar process but uses white rice instead. This drink can be used in a variety of recipes including baked goods, frappe coffees, ice creams, and cookies. Some cocktails call for the Horchata, which includes the Boozy Rum Horchata, the Horchata White Russian, and the Dirty Horchata.
Fassionola is traditionally a red-colored syrup that is most known for its passion fruit flavor. Like the Falernum liqueur, it’s popularly paired with tropical styled drinks and also comes in a variety of other colors such as green and gold.
However, the flavor of the Fassionola greatly depends on the color chosen. In some instances, this syrup can also be used as a fruit punch similar to Falernum. Some cocktails that include Fassionola include the Bacardi Blossom, the Ajax Punch, the Beach fire Margarita, the Batida Mango, and the Hurricane cocktail.
POG (which is an acronym for passion-orange-guava) is a fruit beverage that performs as an amazing base for a tropical-styled mixed drink. This is a drink that was curated in Hawaii in 1971.
This has a likeness in sweetness to Falernum and provides a great addition to a cocktail or fruit punch. Cocktail recipes that use POG include the Mango POG Rum Punch, POG Mojitos, and the traditional POG cocktail.
7. Pomegranate Molasses
Pomegranate molasses is an ingredient that traditionally originates from the Middle East, and can be formulated into a variety of recipes including food and drinks. This molasses is readily accessible at the Middle Eastern specialty market, but can also be made fresh from the comfort of your kitchen.
There is also a list of health benefits to consuming pomegranate molasses. Due to its color, it’s most similar to the Grenadine syrup, but it expresses a tarter taste. To use as a substitute, a simple syrup that is sweeter can be added in addition to the pomegranate molasses.
Some cocktail recipes that use this molasses include the Pomegranate Bourbon Cocktail, the Minty Pomegranate Mule Cocktail, and the Crippled Creek Cocktail.
8. Create Your Own Falernum Substitute
Even though there is a list of valuable substitutes for the Falernum liqueur, there is also the possibility of crafting your own to your liking if you have the time. Some of the ingredients needed are the same as it is for Falernum such as white rum, lime/lime zest, sugar, ginger, cloves, almond extract, and simple syrup.
As accompanying tools, you would need a funnel, a cheesecloth, a mason jar, and a bowl. This is an easy process but does take patience as it’s required for the almonds to be roasted and soaked within the rum for twenty-four hours before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.
It may seem complicated to find the right Falernum liqueur substitute, but in reality, there are many flexible and highly adjustable options available to enhance your drinking experience. The substitutes listed above vary vastly depending on origin, texture, and the existence of alcohol, but all provide a generally sweet foundation for a tropical-styled beverage.
Many of these options can also be found at the local market or be made from scratch, which would increase the freshness value of the cocktail recipe. These syrups can provide you with a unique tasting experience, and broadens the cocktail mixing palette.
Some of these options also can be paired with some food recipes as well, introducing most to a new world of flavor. During the warmer months or visiting a more tropical area, it’s good to know which mixers are best to substitute Falernum to curate a sweet and refreshing beverage.
Originally posted 2022-05-11 17:23:38.