Originating in Barbados in the 19th century, it has a sweet flavor but still offers complexity with its range of spiced and fruit notes.
Falernum is an essential ingredient for many classic tiki cocktail recipes – from the classic Zombie to more modern creations like the Seedlip Spice Sour – that has catapulted its popularity across the globe.
However, while many mixologists swear by this sweet syrup in their libations, it doesn’t always have to be used as an ingredient.
There are plenty of other options out there to choose from if you can’t source falernum or simply don’t enjoy its flavor profile.
In this article, we will explore five options that can make excellent substitutes for falernum.
What is Falernum?
Falernum is a sweet syrup enjoyed in tropical locations like the Caribbean as a cocktail ingredient or even added to iced tea.
While it can often be found in local grocery stores, making homemade falernum is an easy undertaking that results in a product that’s far superior to anything you could buy.
Traditionally, falernum is made with almond extract, fresh ginger, lime juice, cloves and sugar syrup.
This combination of ingredients creates a sweet and fragrant syrup with mellow flavors of almond and clove that pair perfectly with rum and other spirits.
The lime juice gives it a tart kick while ginger adds complexity.
Falernum can also be used as an ingredient in mocktails or cooked dishes.
How to Use Falernum?
According to its original recipe, falernum is a combination of rum, spice, lime, vanilla, ginger and almond flavors.
To make it, you’ll have to infuse a simple syrup with these ingredients on low heat.
The flavor profile of falernum lends itself perfectly to tropical cocktails like the Hurricane and the Mai Tai.
If you don’t have any falernum on hand, though, don’t worry – there are many alternative ingredients that make excellent substitutes for this tiki staple.
Before we get into the top five substitutes for falernum let’s discuss how to use it effectively in cocktails.
When using falernum as an ingredient for a cocktail recipe you will want to taste as you go along when creating your cocktails.
The best rule of thumb when making anything containing an alcoholic beverage is always taste before serving so that you can make adjustments accordingly — in this case adding more or less falernum depending on the other ingredients and strength of your liqueur/spirit base components in order to create balance within the drink itself.
It’s also important to remember that due to its high sugar content, adding too much falernum will still produce an overly sweetened cocktail.
Use discretion when considering how much should be added; start with just half an ounce or so and increase from there according to taste preferences for each individual cocktail recipe you prepare.
5 Best Falernum Substitutes You Should Try
If you’re looking for a substitute for falernum, there are several different options to choose from.
Falernum is a combination of lime zest, lime juice, almond extract, and ginger syrup that adds sweetness and a spicy kick to tropical drinks.
It can be used in alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.
Due to its specific flavor profile, it can be difficult to find an exact substitute for falernum.
There are several different ingredients or mixtures of ingredients that one can use as substitutes for falernum.
The five best substitutes for falernum include:
1 – Orgeat
A great substitute for Falernum is orgeat.
It is an almond syrup made from sugar, almonds, and rose water or orange-flower water.
Originating in France and popularized across Europe, it has a thick viscosity and sweet almond taste with distinctive floral notes.
It can be used as a mixer for cocktails such as the Mai Tai, Planter’s Punch, and the Zombie.
Orgeat brings some nuttiness to cocktails which can be similar to that of Falernum.
It’s best to use 1/3 of a part orgeat to 2/3 parts Falernum in any drink that calls for it.
2 – Allspice Dram
Allspice dram (also called pimento dram or simply allspice) is a type of liqueur made with allspice berries from Jamaica.
It has a sweet and spicy taste, but it also contains high amounts of sugar and alcohol, making it an ideal substitute for falernum.
Allspice dram can be found in high-end liquor stores or online retailers.
When substituting with this option, use the same amount as you would use falernum and bear in mind that the end result will be less sweet.
3 – Grenadine
Grenadine is a pomegranate-flavored syrup that is commonly used in cocktails and other drinks.
It has a sweet and tart flavor, making it excellent for drinks that require a bit of tartness to cut the sweetness.
If you don’t have falernum but do have grenadine, then you can use it as a substitute for falernum.
While not an exact match due to the different flavors, it does offer a similar level of sweetness and acidity that you would find in falernum.
Just be sure to use it sparingly or your drink may be overpowered by the sweetness of the grenadine.
4 – Horchata
Horchata is a milky, sweet drink with origins in Central America.
It’s made of rice, nuts, or seeds that have been soaked and blended with water, sweetened and then strained.
The flavor profile can vary depending on what ingredients you use; almonds and cinnamon are popular additions.
While it won’t provide the complexity of flavor that falernum offers, horchata makes an adequate substitute for those who find themselves in a pinch.
To make an alcohol-free substitute for falernum simply add lime juice to a cup of horchata for an instant mock up of falernum’s wild array of flavors.
5 – Fassionola
Fassionola is a syrup made with ingredients such as pineapple, papaya, hibiscus, lemon oil and other flavorings.
It can be used in place of Falernum in many recipes since it has similar bright caramel flavors with some subtle fruit notes.
Fassionola can be purchased at liquor stores or online in 7-ounce bottles.
In addition to cocktails, Fassionola also pairs nicely with soft serve ice cream and is a popular choice for creating unique topping flavors.
Some brands also offer non-alcoholic versions which may be substituted in drinks and desserts that require the presence of Falernum.
If you want to make your own version, search online for recipes to customize this classic syrup at home.
In conclusion, Falernum is an important ingredient in a variety of drinks and recipes, yet it can be difficult to find.
Thankfully, there are many great alternatives that can be made using ingredients you likely already have on hand.
Whether seeking a simple lime syrup or a ginger-infused syrup, one of the five suggested substitutes will provide a flavorful replacement.
With its unique combination of cloves, lime, and almond flavors, falernum can be an indispensable part of any bar’s lineup.
Consider trying one or more of the provided alternatives to recreate your favorite recipes with success.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Falernum?
Falernum is a sweet syrup made from lime, ginger, and other flavorings like almond and clove.
It’s used in tropical cocktails and in Caribbean cuisine.
What are the best substitutes for Falernum?
The best substitutes for Falernum are ginger beer, ginger syrup, ginger liqueur, allspice dram, and orgeat syrup.
What is allspice dram?
Allspice dram is a liqueur made from allspice berries and other spices. It has a rich, spicy flavor and is sometimes referred to as “pimento dram”.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
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