Falernum #4

I went on a syrup-making kick earlier this summer, and had a bit of a spoilage problem. My last falernum got clumpy, my vanilla syrup got attacked by ants (of all things), my 2:1 syrup crystallized, and my homemade grenadine got moldy. Undaunted, I vowed to try, try again until I perfected my recipes.
So, the trick this time was to make a good falernum which would be stable at room temperature or slightly cooler (the bar is in a basement). I made four notable changes to the recipe:
1. Made a smaller batch. Falernum’s pretty easy to make, so a smaller batch means less chance of spoilage
2. Left out the lime juice from previous recipes. Some forum discussions suggested that adding the lime juice in previous batches were the cause of some of the cloudiness and spoilage. So I left it out, just to see if it affected the taste.
3. Used invert sugar. It has a longer shelf life, tastes sweeter, and shouldn’t crystallize. That’s where the lemon juice comes from in the recipe. The simple syrup is 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Boil the syrup for 10-15 min, making sure to keep stirring, lest it burn and darken the syrup considerably.
4. Added a pinch of sodium metabisulphite. It’s used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent in wine and other fruit-based products. It only takes a 1/4 tsp to sulphite a gallon of wine to 60 ppm. A tiny pinch should do, without imparting a sulphur taste to the falernum.
Here’s the recipe:
250ml Wray & Nephew overproof rum
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lemon
30 whole cloves
1 tbsp chopped ginger, skin on
1/4 tsp orange flower water
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1:1 simple syrup to fill 375ml bottle
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of sodium metabisulphite
Add rum, zests, cloves, and ginger to a 12oz wide-mouth bottle or jar and let soak for 24 hours. Strain through a jelly strainer (these are perfect for all syrup/vinegar/liqueur recipes) with a drip coffee filter nested inside. Do this three times. Add extracts and orange flower water to the liquor, and funnel into a 375ml wine bottle. Add pinch of sulphite, and fill with the invert sugar syrup.
The falernum came out quite tasty, though I would leave out the orange flower water next time. I figured it might add some complexity that was lost with the smaller quantity of lime zest. I didn’t notice the sulphite, and I served falernum sodas at a party on Saturday, with compliments.
So, not a bad recipe. I would add allspice back into the next recipe (I used mine all up making allspice dram), and would try to scale it back up to a 750ml bottle, since this batch will be gone by the end of the week.

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