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Falernum (pronounced fah-learn-um) is a sweet syrup used in Caribbean and tropical drinks. It contains flavors of almond, ginger and/or cloves, and lime, and sometimes vanilla or allspice. It is used in cocktails in a manner similar to orgeat syrup or drunk on the rocks.


3/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds

1/2 Tbs. whole cloves

1/2 Tbs. whole allspice

2 star anise pods

1/4 cup peeled, coarsely chopped fresh ginger

2 cups granulated sugar

zest of 1 lime




Make the falernum:

Put the almonds in a large glass jar, cover with 1 quart of filtered or bottled water, and cover tightly.

Let sit, shaking occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Strain the almonds, discard the water, and rinse out the jar.

Return the almonds to the jar and cover with 1 quart of clean filtered or bottled water and seal; refrigerate overnight.


Combine the cloves, allspice, and star anise in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 1 minute.

Add the contents of the jar to the pan.

Add the ginger and sugar to the pan and cook, stirring constantly.

When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.


Meanwhile, wash out the jar.

Remove the pan from heat and let cool.

Add the lime zest.

Pour the mixture back into the clean jar, seal, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup.

For every 5 oz. of syrup, add 1 oz. of rum. Stir well.

Return the mixture to a clean jar, cover, and refrigerate.

The mixture will keep for 2 weeks.




The syrup form can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic.


The consistency is thick, the color can be white to light amber, and it may be clear or translucent.

Some reports have the origination of falernum dated back to the 18th century.


In the literary magazine All the Year Round, owned by Charles Dickens, Jr. at the time, an unnamed author wrote of falernum in 1892, describing it as "a curious liqueur composed from rum and lime-juice."

The earliest known reference in bar manuals seems to be the 1930s. One producer (see below) claims his recipe to date to 1890, winning awards as early as 1923.


Famous drinks using falernum include:

Bermuda Rum Swizzle

Don the Beachcomber's Zombie and perhaps Mai Tai

Captain's Blood Cocktail

Frosty Dawn

Key Cocktail

Port Antonio Cocktail

Puka Punch

Royal Bermuda Cocktail

Corn N' Oil

some Rum Collins variations

White Lion





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