Category Archives: triple sec

Falernum Fizz

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Ever since I stumbled across the word ‘Falernum’ in a cocktail book, I’ve been keen to get my hands on some. It’s fun to say, sounds vaguely mysterious and medicinal (probably because it sounds like ‘Phenergan’, an antihistamine that apparently has a sedative effect on kids – bonus!) and has its origins in tiki drinks, which are fun all round. Whee! Falernum! Good times. But what, exactly, is it?

In a nutshell, falernum is a mixture of lime and spices that was invented in Barbados sometime in the 1800s. There’s a great article about it here if you’re interested in its history. It adds an intriguing note of sweetness and baking spice to drinks and may just be that key ingredient you can taste in a tiki drink, but not name. Commercially, I’ve come across falernum as a non-alcoholic syrup and as an alcoholic, rum-based liqueur (several brands are available from the legends at Only Bitters). There are also many recipes available if you’d like to make your own, most of which use rum and various spices and sound delicious.

Homemade anything usually beats store-bought, but I confess I decided to cheat and buy a bottle of the non-alcoholic syrup instead of making my own, partly because it was cheaper than the liqueur kind and partly because I wanted to experiment with it and find out if I even liked it before taking the plunge and making my own. The Monin falernum syrup (pictured above) is thick, sweet and almondy with a heady aroma of vanilla and a kick of clove on the palate; it’s a bit like orgeat but with extra flavours. It adds a slightly thick, syrupy texture to drinks and would probably work well in my favourite tiki drink, a Mai Tai – I plan to use it in one instead of orgeat just as soon as we get some hot weather.

In the meantime I’ve experimented and come up with a simple cocktail recipe that I’m calling the Falernum Fizz. Here it is:

INGREDIENTS

20ml falernum syrup

30ml orange liqueur (eg triple sec, Cointreau or a citrus-infused vodka)

about 150ml freshly squeezed orange juice

soda water, to top up

GLASS

Short tumbler/Old Fashioned glass

METHOD

Add all ingredients except soda water to the glass and stir briefly to combine. Add enough ice cubes so that the level of fluid rises to about 3/4 full, and stir again. Top up with soda water and garnish with mint. Drink when you wish it was hot enough for a Mai Tai!

TASTES LIKE

This depends on which orange liqueur you use. Triple sec gives this drink a Tang-like flavour; Cointreau adds depth and makes it more sophisticated; orange or mandarin vodka keep things more neutral so that all you’re really tasting is the falernum and OJ, and that ain’t a bad thing. Overall, this is a very easy cocktail to drink – it’s basically alcoholic breakfast juice, and so sweet a kid would love it (but do not use it as a substitute for Phenergan, no matter how badly you’re tempted).

RECIPE BY

This recipe is by 52 Cocktails and is the result of many hours spent sweating over a hot stove. Well, I’m sure someone had to sweat over a hot stove in order to make the syrup that got used in the recipe, anyway. (Thank you, Monin.)

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Bourbon Stone Martini

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Everyone who’s drunk this beguiling cocktail – it’s somehow mellow, sweet and a bit tart all at the same time – has asked two things:

(1) why is it called a Bourbon Stone Martini?, and

(2) can I have another one?

I can’t answer the first question but I can say yes to the second. Especially since, now that I’m giving you the recipe, you can make me one while you’re at it.

INGREDIENTS

45 ml bourbon

30 ml orange curacao or triple sec (I used triple sec; for a good explanation of the difference between them, check out Ten Cocktails, a brilliant book by Alice Lascelles, or read this)

30 ml fresh lemon juice

30ml fresh orange juice

1 tsp castor sugar or sugar syrup (I used sugar syrup as it plays nicely with the other ingredients)

GLASS 

Cocktail

METHOD

Shake all ingredients together with ice. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. (Double-straining gets rid of any fruit pulp. Don’t know how to do it? It’s easy – check out this video for instructions.)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

You could be stoned, and still get this one right. Maybe that’s how the name came about…

RECIPE BY

The Cocktail: 200 fabulous drinks by Jane Rocca (Hardie Grant Books, 2005) features this and loads of other delish creations.

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Stork Club Cocktail

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According to The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff, the Stork Club cocktail was invented by Nathaniel Cook, chief barman at the Stork Club in Manhattan. Open from 1929 to 1965, this prestigious club was even the subject of a film that was also called the Stork Club. (Back then, everything had to be named the Stork Club; deviation from this rule was punishable by death.*)

At first glance, it seems like nothing more than well-diluted orange juice, but look again and you’ll see the Stork Club cocktail features flamed orange peel. At least, it does if you can successfully light a bit of peel on fire while not going up in flames yourself. If you’re as uncoordinated as I am, have the fire brigade on standby before you try doing this…or use regular orange peel instead. The flavour will not be the same (flamed orange peel adds a rounded, caramel-ly note to the drink) but it will still be good and your kitchen won’t be reduced to a smoking mound of rubble.

INGREDIENTS
45ml gin
15ml triple sec
30ml fresh orange juice
7ml fresh lime juice (no, you don’t have to be that exact – but that should give you an idea of how much to use. A little more or less won’t hurt)
Dash of Angostura bitters
Orange peel, for garnish

GLASS

Cocktail

METHOD

Shake everything super well with ice, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

The hardest part about making this drink is not lighting your eyebrows on fire while trying to flame an orange peel for the first time. If you value your facial features, just use regular orange peel instead. If you want to give it a try, check out some instructional videos here or here first, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

RECIPE BY
This one’s from The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter, 2002).

*OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. The punishment was a whipping.

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Bourbon Triple Sour

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Some cocktails last through the ages; others die out like the dinosaurs. I’m hoping the Bourbon Triple Sour is in the former category.

The clue is in the title; it’s got bourbon in it, and it’s sour. But it’s a balanced sourness that’s offset by the bourbon’s caramel-ness; and with a gentle orange flavour tying it all together, it’s sort of like drinking citrus cordial for adults. It’s refreshing and tart and tastes way better than it sounds – try it.

INGREDIENTS

30ml bourbon (I used Hogs 3 Bourbon)

30ml triple sec (I used the Marie Brizard brand)

30ml lemon juice

5ml sugar syrup

GLASS

Old-fashioned

METHOD

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it. Shake it more. Harder. Keep shaking. OK, you’re done. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge. (The original recipe calls for a cherry and a slice of orange AND a slice of lemon as a garnish. If you want a fruit salad in your face while you’re drinking. go for it.)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Maybe one degree, since you have to squeeze a lemon. Can you have one degree of difficulty? Gah, I don’t know, I’m not a mathematician.

RECIPE BY

This recipe appears in The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Publishers, 2010).

NOTE

One of the good things about this recipe is it doesn’t try to be high-fallutin’. There’s no requirement that you use top-notch bourbon, and it actually calls for triple sec instead of Cointreau (yes, I know the two are different things and have their own qualities, and I know triple sec is pretty damn good in a cocktail, but I’m a snob and still think Cointreau is better). While I’m tempted to try making this drink using, say, Buffalo Trace bourbon and Cointreau, I’m not sure there’s any point – it’s great just as it is. One day I’ll do an A-B test and find out which one is best – it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. If you’ve already conducted such a scientific experiment, please let me know the results in the comment section below. Cheers!

PHOTO CREDIT

Gertrude the dinosaur appears courtesy of Make it Wednesday: https://www.facebook.com/MakeitWednesday

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