By Amit Sood
Barbados is home to three of the Rum’s from the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) family. It is a special Island that has Rum production at its heart. Barbados is also the reputed birthplace of a well-known Rum liqueur known as Falernum so let us delve into this interesting product.
A brief historical account of what it is has been extracted from a book by Carrington, Sean; Fraser, Henry (2003). « Falernum ». A~Z of Barbados Heritage.
A liqueur made basically from rum, lime and sugar. The origin of the name is something of a mystery. The authoritative Grossman’s Guide states Falernum was invented in Barbados over 200 years ago and was named after Falernum wine, which was much prized by the Romans. There is a joke making the rounds which purports to explain how Falernum got its name. In one version, a tourist, after tasting the drink, ask the old man how he made this delicious liqueur. After a few moments hesitation the old Barbadian replies ‘you have fuh learn um’ (you have to learn it).
Rum, lime/lime peel and sugar may be the base to build Falernum, but some bar tenders experiment and add spices like cloves, anise, vanilla, all spice and ginger to add character and depth. To accompany the spice, aromatic bitter almonds are also a common addition to feature, and they marry the spice and the Rum. The result can become milky or light amber in appearance if whole almonds are used and pureed or it can be more clear or translucent if essence is used as a substitute. The amount of sugar and almond can also be used to adjust the body, as it is sometimes quite thick.
The original Falernum is a popular and widely used ingredient in Rum based drinks of both classic and modern origins. Don Beach’s Zombie and the traditional Barbadian Corn ‘n Oil are two such classics. I also tasted a fantastic updated cocktail at Tiki and Kitch in Glasgow, Scotland which was home to one of the Bartender training sessions in the UK.
The views expressed above are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of WIRSPA Inc.