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 Advocaat

20121230-231729-diyvsbuy-advocaatIf you want to inject a little Dutch hospitality into your Christmas, try Advocaat! Though it’s often called Dutch eggnog, this treat is a creamy brandy custard with a pudding-like texture.

Advocaat
(makes about 4 servings)

10 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cinnamon to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon)
2/3 cup vodka
1 cup brandy

Put an inch of water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to low heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Whisking and pour in the liquor.

Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk as it cooks. When the mixture is thick enough to form a coat on the back of a spoon, it’s done cooking. (about 8 minutes or least 130°F). Take the bowl off the heat and whisk in vanilla. Transfer into a glass container and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours before serving.

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

Cynar Cocktails

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Cynar is a bittersweet Italian liqueur that doesn’t seem to get much play here in the United States. I got to know it on a trip to Argentina. I like that it gives a little herbal intensity to a cocktail without taking over. Here are a few Cynar cocktails to try.

Little Italy ~ This variation on the classic Manhattan uses Cynar instead of bitters, for a bit of an herbal kick.

Sparkling Mint Cocktail ~ Mint, lime and a little sparkling wine complement the intense flavor of Cynar for a fun summertime party drink.

Storm Warning ~ A fun twist on the Dark and Stormy, this cocktail created by Beloved in Brooklyn is more complex and creamy than the original.

Red Letter Day ~ This one is a refreshing and sophisticated summer sipper made with applejack is not as sweet as the usual warm weather drinks, thanks to Cynar.

Les Paul ~ This is another variation on a Manhattan, with bourbon and maple syrup giving it a sweetness balanced with Cynar and Carpano Antica for depth.

DIY Irish Cream

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It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! If you’d rather sip some homemade Irish cream than drink a bunch of green beer, you’re my kind of hypothetical internet person. Baileys is good and all, but DIY Irish cream kicks Baileys’ butt. It’s rich, creamy, and satisfyingly sweet. It’s also as easy as throwing a bunch of stuff in a blender and then drinking it.

When you make it yourself, you can control the flavors. You can taste as you go and adjust, since there’s no steeping or complicated multi-step process. If you want to experiment with flavors, skip the vanilla, almond, and honey to make a base and then add flavors to your heart’s content. Coconut, cinnamon, or more chocolate are good variations. If you want a thick even-more-desserty drink, add up to four eggs in your recipe.

DIY Irish Cream

1 1/4 cups Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
14 ounces condensed sweetened milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon real almond extract
2 tablespoons honey

Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend away! Transfer to sealable glass container and refrigerate for up to two months. Shake before serving.

Photo by Liam Boylan

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