• Weekly Cocktail #25: Corn ‘n Oil

    Corn ‘n Oil cocktail.

    Let’s start by noting that this is not a drink that we expect many people to make at home. The Corn ‘n Oil is a very good cocktail, but perhaps a bit random “esoteric” for some. But since this week’s bonus cocktail was a Manhattan variant, we figured we could try something a bit different for our weekly post. And the Corn ‘n Oil certainly is “different”.

    Blackstrap rum and velvet falernum are not common ingredients, but are useful in plenty of cocktails.

    The Corn ‘n Oil combines blackstrap rum, velvet falernum, lime juice and Angostura bitters and is served on the rocks. And if you are unfamiliar with blackstrap rum and velvet falernum, you are not alone. To be honest, we only have them on hand because both are common accents in tiki drinks, and we do like our tiki drinks. Blackstrap rum is basically very dark rum. Cruzan is the blackstrap rum in tiki circles and in the Corn ‘n Oil. It has overt molasses and spice flavors with some clear bitter notes. On first sip, it seems unappealing, but somehow it grows on you. Many tiki drink aficionados use the Cruzan as the “float” instead of more common dark rums like Meyers. Cruzan Blackstrap rum is cheap ($15) and good stuff- so worth a try if you find it.

    As for velvet falernum, it is a sweet, spicy, lightly-alcoholic liqueur with lime notes. There are also non-alcoholic falernum syrups, Fee Brothers makes a version that’s widely available. You can also make your own. Falernum, along with Orgeat, is a popular sweetener in many tiki drinks. The only velvet falernum widely sold in the US is John D. Taylor’s from Barbados, the original home of falernum. It is inexpensive (under $20) and will last a long time, but it may be hard to find. In this recipe we suggest you use velvet falernum, but falernum syrup will work in a pinch.

    As for making the actual drink, like many cocktails, the recipes vary. Not surprisingly, the recipe on the back of the John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum bottle suggests a ratio of 3-1 falernum to rum. This is OK, but most current recipes suggest anywhere from a 50/50 split to 3-1 rum to falernum, particularly if using the Cruzan Blackstrap rum. Most recipes do agree that you need 1/4 to 1/3 of an ounce of fresh lime juice and some even suggest a splash of coke. We use a recipe from the cocktail book “Bitters” by Brad Parsons. We like the book and this recipe, but feel free to play around. We like just a bit more lime juice.

    Yes, it does look like old motor oil…but it tastes better.

    As for the flavor of the Corn ‘n Oil, it tastes like a much more flavorful version of a rum and coke. And this is a good thing. (C’mon, secretly most of us like a rum and coke every once in a while ;-) ) The blackstrap rum adds spice, bitterness and depth. The falernum adds clove and sweet lime notes that compliment the acidity of the fresh lime juice. The bitters add even more spice. Overall, there is a lot of good flavor in this drink. But there is one big caveat, the first sip is tough. The overt molasses flavor and bitterness from the blackstrap rum can be overwhelming. But then, suddenly with the next sip, it gets better. And as the ice melts into the drink, it gets good. Real good.

    As we noted earlier, we don’t expect that many people will have the ingredients to make this drink at home, but the next time you see this drink in a good bar, give it a try. If you get past the first sip and the odd name, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

    The Corn ‘n Oil:


    • 2 oz. blackstrap rum (preferably Cruzan)
    • 1/2 oz. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum (or substitute falernum syrup)
    • 1/3 oz. fresh lime juice
    • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Lime shell or wedge for garnish


    1. Fill a lowball or old-fashioned glass with crushed ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well chilled. Add the lime garnish and serve.
  • Gratitude, Awards And Apologies!

    Olives. Something to look forward to.

    A few years ago, our kids sang a song at a school event called “An Attitude of Gratitude”. It was the kind of semi-campy and non-offensive song you often get at school performances, and the basic chorus was “an attitude of gratitude will get you through the day”. And while it is tempting to roll one’s eyes a bit, the message does hold true. Every day we wake up, there is something we are grateful for. And we are very grateful for so many things, we look forward to every day.

    We are very grateful that so many of you visit us and read about our garden and kitchen (and bar). Your blogs, comments and insights have already made us much better gardeners, cooks and photographers. And these are lifetime interests- so we are happy (and grateful) to learn and improve. And the garden and kitchen can often be humbling places, so it is always good being part of a larger community.

    We are also lucky enough to be nominated for a few blogging awards. Thanks! And this is where the apology comes in. We both have what we call the “promptness gene”. We don’t like being slow to respond or simply be late with anything. But we are late in responding and apologize for being so slow. But better late, than never. As we have a few awards, we will bend the rules and mention the awards, tell you a few more things about ourselves and share some blogs we enjoy. And share some photos, just because we can.

    Here are the awards (Thanks again!):

    Beautiful Blogger by Fine Frugality: Good food and writing- recipes you will actually make.


    Inspiring Blog Award by Glitz Glamour Girl Guide: Fun, positive recipe and lifestyle blog.


    Versatile Blogger Award by Dockfam: This blog just supplies smiles…and smiles are good.


    Very Inspiring Blog by Sarah The Gardener: A great, honest gardening site- we wish we were this good.


    Stuff about us:

    • We do actually suffer from garden envy, even when ours is looking good. I guess we are greedy that way.
    • Same with kitchens.
    • We browse grocery stores, farmers markets and wine/liquor stores the way some folks shop at the mall. This drives our kids (somewhat rightfully) crazy.
    • We tried sausage making several times and have yet to crack it. Local suppliers and butchers do better than us- by a lot.
    • We still do OK with home-cured bacon, however. Some consolation.
    • We are starting to geek up on tea. This may go the way of cocktails and get a bit obsessive. Hmm.
    • We are really bummed and disappointed by Melky Cabrera. Ugh, this one hurts. Continue reading