Category: falernum
Recipes, Stuff, Syrups, Tiki Month 2016

Falernum Sous Vide

[caption id="attachment_11008" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Tiki in a pan! Tiki in a pan![/caption] Along with rum itself, there are two ingredients which practically define Tiki: Orgeat and Falernum. Now, vanishingly few Tiki drinks employ all three of this trinity, and indeed, there are Tiki drinks that employ none of them. But in the vast majority of recipes, there is no faster way to identify a Tiki drink than to spot rum and either falernum or orgeat. Truth to tell, of the two, I use orgeat a lot more. It is the Bartender's Ketchup of the Tiki world. Flavors too distinct? Put in some Orgeat. Mouthfeel too thin? Add some orgeat. Delicious but lacking that certain soo se mea lava? Orgeat is your special sauce. It is a bit of a passive ingredient, actually; identifiable more for its effects than for any distinct flavor of its own. Falernum is a much more assertive ingredient. It has strong, unique flavors. As a Tiki tool, it is a bit like a large band saw; employ it with exacting precision and it is fantastically useful. But if you get the slightest bit careless with it, the appeal will become... more selective. What I'm saying is, it is hard to master. Ditto for making it. In fact, falernum may be harder to make than it is to use. No one can agree what's in it. The ingredients that people do agree on require a lot of manual labor. The process is traditionally messy, gross looking, and immediately apparent to anyone in the building with a nose. And it requires a lot of time. As in, you will use your Calendar app, not your Stopwatch app. [caption id="attachment_11010" align="aligncenter" width="650"]This is the world's only known attractive photograph of the falernum process. —Kaiser Penguin This is the world's only known attractive photograph of the falernum process.
Kaiser Penguin[/caption] Fortunately, the increasing availability and affordability of sous vide technology can make this process much, much easier. Almost easy enough to do regularly.... Let's dive into the process, shall we? As I said, there is no definitive recipe for falernum. It's like cole slaw–everyone has their own. All cole slaw has cabbage and mayo. All falernum has clove and lime zest. Beyond that.... Back in the early, heady days of the 21st Century cocktail revival, there was quite a spate of blog activity in search of the definitive falernum. Two of the best results were from Kaiser Penguin (of the photo above), and Paul Clark's Velocity 9 Falernum #9. These days, much of the publishing world at least seems to settle on #9 as the default choice, probably because Paul has "connections"... and also "talent", and "a good recipe".
... aaaand after all that, you aren't going to use Paul's recipe, are you?
No, because I like a few elements of KP's, too. Incidentally, while the point of this post is to end up discussing how sous vide can make making falernum a lot more convenient, do not go and use the recipe blogged by Sous Vide Supreme, the people who make the water bath I own. It is too sweet and insipid in flavor. I realize I just spent too many bytes talking about how intimidating falernum is as an ingredient, but trying to overcome this by using a weak formulation is a bit like punching a bully lightly, or holding the stock of your 12 gauge away from your shoulder because you are afraid of the kick. It will not end well. Take a gallon Ziplock double seal bag. Put in one and a half cups of granulated sugar and three quarters of a cup of hot tap water. Seal and shake. You don't need to fully dissolve the sugar, but make sure there are no dry pockets. Set aside. Put 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds, 1 Tbsp of whole allspice berries, and 40-50 cloves in a small saucepan. Toast lightly over medium-low heat for about four to five minutes, or until your whole house smells like that gardener who smoked clove cigarettes and worked down the street when you were a kid. Allow to cool. Collect the zest of nine good, fresh limes. This is the hardest part of the process, and no sous vide will help with it. You want as much of the green from the peel as possible and none of the white pith. A peeler will probably go too deep, and you will need to finely chop the peel anyway. I use a small microplane and hold the lime with a kevlar glove (because grated Doug makes for funky falernum). It takes a long time and your fingers get sore, even if they don't get scraped. I have heard about a purpose built kitchen gadget called a Zip Zester that may no longer be made. Anyone have experience with this device? Put your toasted ingredients, the bowl of lime zest, and 5 coins of candied ginger into your bag of sugar water. Add three quarters of a cup of decent white rum (I like Cruzan aged light rum for this purpose), 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice, and a quarter to a half teaspoon of almond extract. Seal the bag and shake well to combine and to test. If your kitchen suddenly becomes sticky, you have not sealed the beg correctly. Set your sous vide oven or stick heater to 135° F. Open the seal on your bag slightly and lower it into the water right up to the top. This will force virtually all the air out of the bag. Seal it well again. Lift it out of the water and ensure all the solids are in contact with the liquid in the bottom of the bag and not trapped up above. Submerge the bag in the water and go on with your life for the next two to three hours. [caption id="attachment_11013" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Nope. Still not attractive. Nope. Still not attractive.[/caption] When you are ready, remove the bag and pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl or jar. Discard the spent, smelly, gooey crud in the strainer. Put some cheesecloth in the strainer and strain your falernum through again. Voila! Go make a Zombie. Even with the reduced mess and time of making your falernum sous vide, you still deserve a drink.abc
Garnish, Recipes, Tiki Month 2014

Tiki Drink: Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash Three Dots and a Dash is a Don the Beachcomber classic with his signature spicy exotic melange of flavors. It manages to work in virtually every Beachcomber marker ingredient, including falernum, pimento dram, and honey mix. I've somehow missed making it for lo these many Tiki Months, and now that I have, I'm regretting the lost time. Make no mistake, it is a pain in the ass to make, with no less than eight ingredients beside the ice, and it needs flash blending to boot. To top it off, it really needs a complex garnish, as I'll discuss after the recipe.
THREE DOTS AND A DASH
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part honey mix
  • 3 parts amber rum
  • 1 part Demerara rum
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 part falernum
  • 1/2 part pimento dram (allspice liqueur)
  • 12 parts small ice
Flash blend all ingredients for about five seconds. Serve in a fun vessel, and garnish as below. Classic serving is 1/2 ounce per part per person.
The classic garnish is a long skewer with three cherries and a pineapple spear; three dots, and a dash, see? Since I currently have no pineapple in solid form, I nestled the cherries in a pod of a pineapple leaf. It is still three short things, and one long. Three dots and a dash stand for the Morse Code letter 'V'. The drink was invented during World War Two, and V for Victory was an important part of the mindset of most involved in the war effort on the Allied side.
Winston Churchill Victory Two Fingers
Winnie liked his V's too.
Source: The Independent
Winston Churchill was central to popularizing the V for Victory two-fingered gesture. Most of the time, he flashed the V with his hand turned to have the palm facing out. When he flipped it around, as shown in this picture, there is an older, severely rude meaning. Since he did it only seldom, I'm sure each time he did, he did it for added effect. Winston Churchill was exquisitely calculated in all his insults. He was a stutterer, so every "spontaneous" quip he made had to have been thought out in advance to make sure he didn't stumble on its delivery. That means he had locked and loaded this in advance, the greatest putdown in history.
Bessie Braddock (MP-Socialist): Winston, you're drunk! Churchill: Yes, Bessie me dear, and you're ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober!
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Bartenders, Recipes, Rum, Tiki Month 2013

Tiki Drink: Captain’s Blood

Captain's-Blood-2 Cocktail-style Tiki drinks really have ended up being the central theme of exploration this Tiki Month, and here is another: The Captain's Blood. Of course, both in name and in flavor, the Captain's blood is more Pirate than Polynesian, but I'll allow it. After all, pirate stuff has a long association with Tiki, just as spy-themed music and paraphernalia do. And Tiki's patron saints, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, were really pirates in all but the name. (They also omitted the bad hygiene and most of the old ultra-violence, but let's not quibble) There are all sorts of recipes for Captain's Blood on the web, and aside from all pretty much containing rum, lime of some fashion, and usually bitters of some type, there seems to be no definitive recipe. I suspect that this is one of those drinks with a great name that has been reverse engineered from the memory of the taste countless times, and for which we shall never find a rock-solid origin or original formulation. I went with the one of CocktailDB, which has propagated the farthest on the web and which is the most nearly Tiki in character. I made two amendments, which I will explain.
CAPTAIN'S BLOOD COCKTAIL
  • 1 1/2 oz Jamaican dark rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 3/8 oz honey mix
  • 1/4 oz falernum
Shake ingredients and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish nautically.
The original CocktaiDB recipe calls for one dash of Angostura and a half teaspoon of sugar (roughly 1 tsp simple syrup). That result I found to be too thin, even sour, in flavor, especially if you are looking for a Tiki, or at least a Tiki Compliant, cocktail. Increasing the bitters demonstrates that great, largely unappreciated by the masses, cocktail truth: Bitters in small amounts don't increase the bitterness of a drink, they knock the edges off other outsize flavor elements instead. In this case, the extra bitters just sands down the sourness of the lime and falernum without hiding the underlying flavorful goodness. I got the idea for the honey mix from Rumdood's old post on homemade falernum. It was my choice to up the amount. I like the melding of the flavors resulting from the added sweetness, and the honey also gives a tiny bit of additional complexity. But make no mistake, this remains a tart drink. The honey also gives a tiny bit richer body to the cocktail, which I like as well. Next time I try it, I may even replace the honey mix with gomme syrup, to see how far I can take that effect. The suggestion for this Tiki Month post from Jason McGrady, who presides over the mahogany at Sazerac Restaurant in the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, where Maggi and I stayed two Summers ago. What's that? Yes, I keep in touch with bartenders I haven't seen in two years. I keep track of an incredible number of good bartenders around the world whom I seldom actually see. You never know when I am going to have a sudden need for an agent to do me a favor and make me a good drink. I'm like the Shadow that way.
shadow2.psd
"Someday, bartender, I will need a Manhattan from you...."
Source: Alex Sheikman
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
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