Mix It Up

7 Falerum Cocktails

By: Tiff Christie|October 20,2019

Falernum is one of those magic elixirs that adds an immediate punch of complexity and a distinct tropical flavour to your cocktails.


Pinã Cholada

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

Ode To Viceroy

Ninth Ward

Corn 'n' Oil

Velvet Fog

Berlin Wall

Sure, you might not be able to pronounce it (fah-learn-um, in case you are curious) but none the less you’ve still got to have it, if you want to add that sweet, spicy flavour.

Thought by many to be a bit of a secret weapon, Falernum owes its name to the renowned ancient Roman wine falernian, known as falernum in Latin. Some reports have the origination of Falernum dated back to the 18th century, when Henry Parkinson created it in Barbados.

It was his great-great-grandson, Arthur Stansfeld, who brought it to the states in 1934 and by the mid-20th century, A.V. Stansfeld’s Genuine Falernum was widely used.

It can’t be forgotten that Falernum was a key component in many of the cocktails created and served by Don the Beachcomber. It is believed that he probably came across it during his travels throughout the South Pacific, but he did not promote it, as many of his ingredients and recipes were closely guarded secrets.

As Tiki culture fell into decline in the late 20th century, there were no commercially available Falernum’s on the market. Many bars made it themselves (and if you’re interested in giving it a try, we have a recipe here).

Shortly after the beginning of the 20th Century, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum started to be imported globally and it remains the most popular commercial brand. traces its own lineage back to 1890, and whose proprietary recipe was sold to rum producer R. L. Seale in the 1990s.

Falernum brings together a sweet blend of lime, ginger, almond, clove and other spices, including (sometimes) allspice and vanilla. It comes as either a liqueur or a sugarcane syrup.

If you are looking for an alternative liqueur, then Bitter Truth produce their Golden Falernum which is much more gingery -and proofed- than Velvet.

As far as syrups, Fee Bros have released a syrup which many believe to be closest to the Parkinson/Stansfeld “original formulation. And recently, even in Australia, Crawley’s have added their Real Falernum to their syrup range.

The renewed interest in Falernum has lead to bartenders across the globe experimenting with this Caribbean wonder and proving that its usefulness goes far beyond the realms of Tiki. With it’s baking spice undertones, Falernum can offer seasonal context to established classic as well as a complexity and brightness.

Naturally, Falerum pairs well with Rum (and their production has often been intertwined), but it can stand up to and work equally well with aged spirits or can help to round out the flavor profile of a cocktail made with white spirits. In the right context, Falernum has the ability to translate the warm spice and roundness one might associate with rum, to gin. It brings out a depth, character and those baking spices out of gin cocktails.

If you look carefully, Falernum is popping up with more frequency in other non-tiki drinks, like the Whiskey Sour, the Tom Collins and the Margarita. So next time you are creating a citrusy, shaken drink, try adding a little Falernum to the mix.

You might also be surprised to note that it’s a great complement to Bitters and even Amaro. Although it has a reputation for being sweet, Falernum also has a savoury aspect to it that prevents it from being too sweet. When added to a cocktail which also has the something like Peychaud’s Bitters,that is tapered even further.

So even with it rather odd name, Falerum is one of those secret ingredients that once you know about it, it’s hard to imagine not stocking it as part of your home bar and experimenting with its flavour. .

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7 Falerum Cocktails

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