No Corn, No Oil

No, it’s not farming subsidies or drill-baby-drill. It’s Cocktail of the Day.

Here’s the one we had the other night, a signature drink of the island nation of Barbados, whence falernum originated. I understand that this drink was originally made with Barbados rum (which makes perfect sense), but a few years ago Murray Stenson of the Zig Zag in Seattle suggested to Paul Clarke that this drink be made with one particular type of rum, which looks like something you’d pour in your crankcase and seems as if it would pack a powerful wallop … but makes a stunningly beautiful drink.

Cruzan Black Strap Rum is made not just from regular molasses, as is most rum, but from blackstrap molasses, which comes from the third boiling of sugar syrup in the sugar making process. Oddly enough, although it has the calories of sugar it’s quite good for you, containing vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. (Here’s hoping that at least a bit of that carries through to the hooch.) If you’re a lover of molasses, particularly sorghum molasses for all you Midwesterners, you’ll love this rum. Having watched Wes drizzle Kansas sorghum on his biscuits (which is a bit much even for me), I knew he’d love this stuff too.

I’ve seen a number of slight variations — amount of falernum, bitters or not, lime juice or not — but the drink does seem to gain some wonderful brighness from the addition of fresh lime, and although the bitters have a tendency to be stomped on by this rum you can add a few dashes if you like, enough for the spice to peek through the heavy molasses flavor.

If you’re using the homemade Falernum No. 10 posted earlier, a half-ounce works well. With John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, the consensus seems to be to cut that back to 1/4 ounce, and I agree.

Although the drink might look as if it’s made with 10W-40, it contains neither oil nor corn.

Corn ‘n Oil

2 ounces Cruzan Black Strap Rum.
1/2 ounce Falernum No. 10.
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters (optional).
2 lime wedges, about 1/4 lime.

Build over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, and you may leave the squeezed lime wedges in the drink. Stir for at least a quarter-minute before serving.

In looking at the Cruzan Rum website, I’ve learned something new. I’ve always heard the brand pronounced like “CREW-ZAN,” equal stress on the syllables, and pronounced it that way myself. The website features an introduction by the guy who makes the stuff, and he says “CRU-zhin.” I had no idea.