DIY Falernum

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You may not have heard of falernum, but if you love Tiki cocktails then you probably love falernum. It’s a combination of lime and spices, either as a rum liqueur or a syrup. Give it a try! This recipe brightens the sour notes of citrus and adds a hint of spice.

DIY Falernum
1/3 cup raw almonds (sliced)
30 cloves
1/2 cup light rum
8 limes
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water

Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about five minutes, until slightly darkened and fragrant. Let cool. Put almonds and cloves in a jar with the rum. Steep for two days. Zest limes and add zest to the jar. Steep for one day, then strain through cheesecloth. Juice four of the limes and strain juice into pot with water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, about five minutes. Let cool. Combine with strained almond and clove infusion. Strain entire mixture through a coffee filter (optional). Let rest for 12 hours before use.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column.

DIY Sour Mix

DIYsourmixThere is no reason in the world to buy pre-made sour mix. There just isn’t! Banish those neon yellow and green mixes in favor of your own fresh mix. You can make it in advance!

Whether you use it for Margaritas, Whiskey Sours, or another drink of your own creation, all you need is a few minutes and some very (very) basic ingredients.

You can even jazz it up by subbing in some other citrus juice like orange or grapefruit. Just keep in mind they’re a little sweeter, so you’ll need to adjust to taste.

DIY Sour Mix
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Boil the sugar and water, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let syrup cool. Strain lemon and lime juices (no pulp) into a resealable bottle and pour in the cooled syrup. Shake and use or refrigerate. Adding a little vodka will extend the life of your sour mix.

Photo by Liam Boylan

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column

Fall Gin Cocktail: Apple Business

Apple Business4 (credit Alice Gao)It’s fall … even though the weather where I am doesn’t quite feel like it yet. To get a little of that autumnal atmosphere into my life, I mixed up an apple cocktail. It’s simple to make, but has a lot of complex flavors going on. The floral notes in the gin really went well with honey. Come on, fall! I’m ready for you!

It’s no secret Nolet’s is one of my favorite gins, so I was more than happy to try this recipe when they sent it to me. I just used plain old clover honey (like the kind that comes in a squeezy bear), but this would be excellent with some blackberry honey or orange honey.

Apple Business

2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh apple juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce honey

Shake all ingredients over ice, and then strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with apple slice.

Recipe by Theo Lieberman, Milk & Honey (NYC)
Photo by Alice Gao

Lychee Gimlet

The lychee is a little bumpy-shelled fruit that houses a gelatinous fruit that surrounds a seed. The flavor of this fruit is like syrupy grape with an exotic twist. Nolet’s Gin sent me a box of lychees and a suggestion for how to use them … a Gimlet made with lychees. How could I resist?

In case you’ve never seen a lychee before (I hadn’t), here’s a box of ’em:

Now on to the recipe! Instead of boiling the fruit to make a syrup, I muddled it with some simple syrup–which is just a combination of equal parts sugar and water.

Lychee Gimlet

1 1/2 oz. gin (I used Nolet’s, which they kindly sent me as well)
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 lychees, shelled and pitted
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

Blend the lychees and simple syrup (makes about 1 1/2 oz. of lychee syrup). Pour into shaker along with gin and lime juice, then add ice and shake. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into coupe or Martini glass. Throw in a shelled and pitted lychee, if desired, or garnish with a lime wheel.