• Max’s Mocktail

    Max's Mocktail

    Max’s Mocktail

    Truth be told, we mix a lot of drinks and cook a lot of dishes with the blog in mind, but most of the things we make are simply to feed our family and friends. But when they do like something and ask for a recipe, you can be damn sure we are going to post it. Happy faces never get old, and successful dishes and drinks are still hard to come by. If you want the recipe, just ask, we are happy to oblige.

    max3max6As for this “mocktail”, our eldest son had his friend Max over to work on a school project and play some baseball. After some time outside, our son asked for a mocktail, and if our kid gets one, well, so does his guest. And since we had a bunch of fresh winter citrus available, including blood oranges and Meyer Lemons (two of our favorite ingredients) we figured we could make something the boys would enjoy. And Max liked this enough to want the recipe, so here it is.

    max4max5Max’s Mocktail combines blood orange juice, lemon juice, falernum syrup, a dash of Rhubarb bitters (optional) and sparkling water. So what’s falernum syrup? Falernum is a sweet West-Indian syrup with flavors of lime, ginger and clove. Falernum is a common tiki-drink ingredient and is a primary flavor in classics like the Jet Pilot and Zombie. You can find falernum syrup in many liquor stores, it is inexpensive and lasts forever. Just don’t confuse falernum syrup with Velvet Falernum, a version that has alcohol and isn’t safe for “mocktails”. We understand that many people won’t have falernum syrup, so we also have a second version of the recipe that subs a dash of lime juice, sugar and ginger ale for the falernum syrup and sparkling water.

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  • 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:

    Ingredients:

    • 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

    Assemble:

    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.