Tiki drinks have been described as “fussy,” “esoteric,” and often down right tedious. In part this is due to the wide variety of rum and juice that is required, but I think the true culprit is the syrup. There are some 20 syrups, mixes, batters, hoozlungs, and dreebops, each often requiring a multi-day process and lots of straining through cheesecloth. Some are super simple to make, like Cinnamon Syrup, while others, like Orgeat Syrup, leave you cursing every known tiki bartender, dead or alive as you peel almond after almond.
My main goal of this post is see what syrups you all keep on hand on a regular basis, so dig into your refrigerator and have a look. Here’s what I have:
- Falernum KP 1.0 (new recipe)
- Cinnamon Syrup
- 2:1 Turbinado, Demerara, or some other Simple Syrup
- Orgeat Syrup
- Passion Fruit Syrup (from the local Asian market)
Are Homemade Syrups Worth It?
After making more batches of falernum and cinnamon syrup and more Jet Pilots than is likely safe, I feel confident in encouraging you to make your own. By no means should you go out and try to make five syrups in one weekend. Just make one, and I guarantee you’ll be making more in no time.
There are only a handful of commercial products that can even come close to homemade. St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram is a good example (I’ve got to stop giving Haus Alpenz free advertising!), but on the whole, your homemade is going to be fresher, tastier, and well worth the effort.
What About Bottles?
During last week’s Thursday Drink Night, SeanMike pointed out what appears to be the holy grail if you’re looking to order cheap, fun bottles for your syrups: Specialty Bottle Personally, I just use old spirit bottles or those restaurant squeeze bottles, but I plan to to pick up some of these.
New Falernum Recipe
Here is my latest batch of Falernum, KP 1.0. The recipe is a bit spicier than more traditional ones, and you may need to cut back a touch when including it in a recipe, but it’s full of complexity and will most likely cause you to start quoting Dune.
Falernum KP 1.0
- zest of 10 limes
- 1/4c julienned ginger
- 25 cloves
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 15 allspice
- 2 star anise leaves (about 1/3 of a single star anise)
- 2″ piece of vanilla bean, dried out
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1/4c toasted almonds (skin on)
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 8oz Wray and Nephew overproof rum
- 2/3c lime juice
- 1/4t almond extract
- 2:1 simple syrup to fill 750ml bottle
Bash up almonds and spices (except the star anise and nutmeg) and soak them in the rum for 24 hours. Strain through a cheesecloth and add the lime juice, almond extract, and simple syrup.
- What homemade syrups do you have on hand?