DIY Falernum


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.

How to Make Flavored Syrup

Flavored syrups are an easy way to dress up your cocktails with a little DIY flair. All it takes is water and sugar, along with your favorite fruit … or herbs or even vegetables. It’s as easy as boiling water! This syrup isn’t just for cocktails. Mix it with club soda or sparkling water for an easy homemade soda.

Here is the basic formula and instructions:

Flavored Syrup

1 part water
1 part sugar
1 part flavoring ingredient (this is chopped fruit or vegetables, sprigs of herbs or a combination)

Boil all ingredients for five minutes (or long if you want a stronger flavor), let the mixture cool, strain out the solids and refrigerate the liquid. About one quarter of the liquid evaporates in the cooking process.


  • Adjust the amount of fruit slightly based on how intense you want the flavor and how strong the fruit or herb is. For example, apples are a mild flavor so you may want to add more and let it steep longer.
  • When mixing fruit and herbs, add the herb at the last minute. Then remove from heat and let steep for 10-20 minutes, depending on desired flavor.
  • For citrus, use the rind as well as the juicy part.
  • Don’t discard the boiled fruit; it makes a great topping for ice cream or cake.
  • Try using honey instead of sugar to mix it up!
  • DIY syrup doesn’t keep as long as the store-bought kind. It will last about 3 weeks. Adding a little vodka prolongs the life to 2 months.

Suggested flavor combinations:

  • Strawberry basil
  • Lemon honey
  • Blueberry apricot
  • Honey peach
  • Raspberry mint
  • Orange cranberry

You can learn more about this technique and many, many others in DIY Cocktails. Buy it!

Photo by Jackson Stakeman