What is falernum made from?

Falernum is a sweet and aromatic liqueur that originates from the Caribbean islands. It is made by infusing rum or brandy with a blend of spices, fruits, herbs and sugar. Some of the key ingredients that give falernum its distinctive flavor include:


Almonds are one of the defining ingredients in falernum. They provide a subtle nutty and aromatic flavor to the liqueur. Almonds are typically used in the form of almond extract or almond oil in falernum production.


Fresh lime juice is another essential component of falernum. It adds a bright, citrusy tartness that balances out the sweetness. Lime zest may also be used to impart extra lime fragrance and oils into the liqueur. Some recipes call for both lime juice and lime zest.


Ginger root is commonly used to give falernum its spicy kick. The ginger can be grated fresh or dried and ground. It provides a warming, pungent flavor that enhances the other ingredients.


Allspice, also known as pimento, adds hints of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. It gives depth to the spice profile of falernum. Allspice berries are typically used whole and then removed after infusing the liquid.


Along with allspice, clove is another key spice used to flavor falernum. Clove has a strong and intensely aromatic taste that augments the almond, ginger and lime notes.


Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon give falernum its sweet, reddish-brown color and warm, mildly spicy taste. It blends well with the other spice flavors.


Freshly grated nutmeg contributes fragrant, nutty and slightly sweet nuances. It works synergistically with spices like cinnamon, clove and allspice.


Vanilla is added to some falernum recipes. Vanilla extract or vanilla beans impart a rich, smooth vanilla undertone that enhances the sweetness.

Angostura Bark

Angostura bark comes from a tropical tree native to South America and provides an aromatic, bitter flavor. Not all recipes include angostura bark, but it adds another layer of complexity.

Bay Leaf

Bay leaves lend a subtle herbal background note. They are generally used whole and removed after infusing the liquid.


Some recipes call for a touch of coriander seed, which has citrusy, floral hints that complement the lime juice.

Falernum #9

One of the most popular commercial falernum liqueurs is Falernum #9, produced by John D. Taylor in Barbados. According to the company, the ingredients in Falernum #9 are:

  • Almond
  • Ginger
  • Lime
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Rum

While the full list of ingredients and proportions is a closely guarded secret recipe, it reportedly contains some of the key ingredients mentioned above like almond, lime, ginger and allspice. The sugar content is quite high at 30 percent.


Sugar is a major component in falernum, making up around 30 percent of the total content in commercial versions like Falernum #9. Plain white sugar is commonly used to provide the signature sweet taste, though some recipes may use syrups like honey or maple syrup.


Falernum has its roots in rum production, so rum is traditionally used as the base spirit. Aged rum provides depth of flavor and interacts well with the spices and sugar. Gold or dark rum is commonly used rather than white rum.


Some falernum recipes call for brandy rather than rum as the base spirit. Cognac or other fruit brandies can provide a fruity backbone that works well with the lime, almond and ginger flavors.

Making Falernum

There are a few common methods used to make falernum, though exact techniques vary between recipes:


The most traditional approach is to infuse rum or brandy with the flavor ingredients like lime, ginger, spices, sugar and almond. Whole spices are traditionally used. The ingredients may be steeped anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks for maximum extraction.


Some recipes call for more intensive maceration of the ingredients, which involves muddling, blending or grinding them before infusing. This can help extract more flavor compounds.


Percolation involves passing the rum or brandy through the solid ingredients repeatedly to dissolve the flavors. This requires special equipment but can produce a intensely flavored falernum.


The ingredients may simply be mixed together with the rum or brandy, then strained after infusion. This produces a quicker falernum, but less complex than other methods.

Shelf Life

Homemade falernum only keeps for about 6 months at most before losing freshness. Commercially produced falernum lasts for several years unopened. Once opened, it should be used within a year or two.

Serving Falernum

Falernum has an alcohol content of around 20-25% ABV. It can be enjoyed neat like other liqueurs, mixed into cocktails, or added to desserts and tropical drinks. Some popular ways to use falernum include:

  • In tiki cocktails like the Zombie or Jet Pilot
  • Mixed with rum for a simple rum and falernum cocktail
  • In place of orange liqueur in tropical drinks
  • Poured over ice cream for a boozy dessert
  • Splashed into fruit punch or blended drinks
  • Drizzled on citrus fruits or berries

The unique flavor profile of falernum works well in both sweet and savory contexts. A little goes a long way due to its intense spice and high sugar content.

Falernum Cocktail Recipes

Here are some popular cocktails featuring falernum:

Corn ‘n Oil


  • 2 oz black rum
  • 1/2 oz falernum
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice
  2. Add rum, falernum and bitters
  3. Stir briefly to combine
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail


  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz falernum
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice
  2. Shake vigorously until well-chilled
  3. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel

Jet Pilot


  • 1 oz black rum
  • 1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 1/2 oz falernum
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters


  1. Add ingredients to a shaker tin with ice
  2. Shake until chilled and frothy
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel or grapefruit twist

Homemade Falernum Recipes

Making your own falernum at home allows you to customize the flavors to your taste. Here are some recipes to try:

Classic Rum Falernum


  • 10 oz white rum
  • 4 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz almond extract
  • 2 oz ginger syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive container
  2. Steep for 1 week, shaking daily
  3. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve
  4. Bottle and store for up to 6 months

Spiced Brandy Falernum


  • 750 ml brandy
  • Zest of 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar
  2. Seal and shake jar daily for 1 week
  3. Fine strain liquid through cheesecloth
  4. Funnel into a clean bottle
  5. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year

Falernum #9 Copycat


  • 1 1/2 cups white rum
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp ginger juice
  • 1 tsp angostura bark
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass or jar
  2. Shake or stir to dissolve sugar
  3. Let steep for 3-5 days
  4. Fine strain through a cheesecloth
  5. Funnel back into the glass container
  6. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year

Where to Buy Falernum

While homemade falernum can be delicious, commercial brands offer convenience plus professionally calibrated flavors. Here are some top falernum liqueurs to buy:

Falernum #9

The original falernum from Barbados, #9 offers a benchmark balanced flavor profile with almond, ginger and lime notes.

BG Reynolds Falernum

This artisanal falernum contains flavorful Jamaican rum and spices like cardamom, clove and allspice.

St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Made in Jamaica, this isn’t a true falernum but offers rich allspice flavor with citrus and baking spices.

Queen’s Park Premium Falernum

An award-winning handcrafted falernum from Trinidad with a vodka base and pronounced ginger, almond and lime.


Ting is a non-alcoholic grapefruit flavored soda from Jamaica that makes a good falernum substitute in mocktails.

Falernum Substitutes

If you don’t have falernum, acceptable substitutions depend on the cocktail recipe. You can try:

  • 1 part simple syrup + 1 part lime juice + a few dashes almond extract
  • Orange liqueur like Cointreau or triple sec
  • Allspice dram liqueur
  • Ginger syrup + Angostura bitters
  • Spiced rum

While not perfect replicas, these combinations can emulate some qualities of falernum’s flavor in a pinch.


Falernum is a unique tropical liqueur with bold flavors of lime, ginger, almond and exotic spices. It’s made by infusing rum or brandy with an intricate blend of ingredients. While commercial versions like Falernum #9 are readily available, it’s also possible to craft falernum at home. This aromatic spirit can lend its signature flavor profile to cocktails, desserts and more. Falernum is versatile enough to enhance both sweet and savory recipes when used creatively. Understanding its origins, make-up and uses allows you to fully appreciate falernum’s complex yet refreshing taste.

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