From the 1947 Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, this little guy is essentially yet another take on the daiquiri – rum, lime, and sugar; although here the sugar comes with a bit of added dimension via an ingredient called falernum. It’s fun to say, isn’t it? Falernum. Just rolls off the tongue. Falernum.
So. You have basically three options when it comes to falernum. You can make you own falernum. I have not tried this. I’m sure it’s delicious, but it seems like a heck of a lot of work. You can buy falernum from Fee Brothers, which is decent taste-wise but is really not much more than flavored corn syrup. Or you can buy John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, an actual falernum liqueur (at a mere 11%ABV). I picked up a couple of bottles of this back in January when I was in California (it’s not distributed here in the Land of Enchantment), but the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail is my inaugural run with the stuff.
2 ounces Barbados rum (I used Doorly’s XO)
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice (Is there any other kind? You know there isn’t. I’ve told you about this.)
2 dashes (1/4 tsp.) Cointreau
2 teaspoons falernum
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The Barbados rum has a nice character, somewhere in between a good gold Jamaican rum and a dark rum like Meyer’s. In a pinch you could probably cut some Meyer’s with some good white rum and wind up with a fair approximation, but the Doorly’s XO isn’t very expensive if you can find it, which shouldn’t be too hard. The Velvet Falernum is a definite improvement over the Fee Brothers syrup version, so I’d strongly recommend you go with the third option listed above. Falernum adds a limey-gingery-almondy taste, with a touch of sweetness. But sweetness is not the story here. This is a tart drink, dominated by the lime juice. If you’re expecting some nectarous tropical potion simply because this comes from Trader Vic, look elsewhere. A tiki drink this is not – but it is a fine cocktail. Four livers.