Before embarking on a falernum-making adventure, I did a bit of reading and ended up compiling a list of falernum recipes. Falernum is an ingredient that pop ups every now and then in tiki cocktails, with one of the most famous examples being the Zombie.
The Ward Eight is a famous cocktail created in Boston that is considered a classic. But despite its reputation, it never completely convinced me. I see two problems with the Ward Eight. First orange juice is a difficult ingredient in cocktails. Orange does not have the acidity of lemon or lime, and often fails to balance the sweetness of the other ingredients. Then the drink also includes grenadine which is another problematic ingredient. I am not even talking about fake commercial grenadine which does not contain an ounce of pomegranate juice. Even good quality grenadine can easily take over a drink if you are not careful. And when combined with orange juice… Well let’s just say that even though the Ward Eight is a decent cocktail, I feel sad to use a good bottle of rye in this drink because most of its qualities are shadowed by the other ingredients.
I tried a few versions of the Ward Eight including this one from PDT that uses pomegranate molasses for the grenadine and was left feeling underwhelmed.
After attending Martin Cate’s fascinating seminar at Tiki Oasis about tiki restaurateur extraordinaire Stephen Crane (Intrigue! Adventure! Hollywood! Tiki!), it is not difficult finding inspiration for new tiki drinks. The other night I made Don the Beachcomber’s Volcano Bowl, a flaming tiki drink which has the particularity of using maple syrup as a sweetening agent. I was looking for drinks from Stephen Crane’s restaurants, the Luau and the Kon Tiki, but ended up finding a swizzle recipe by Martin Cate that looked interesting and also used maple syrup. He named it the Kaieteur Swizzle, after the waterfalls in Guyana.
What is great about swizzles is that they are built directly in the glass. You just add all of your ingredients, then the crushed ice, you swizzle preferably with a swizzle stick made of bois-lélé or a bar spoon, top with crushed ice, add your garnish and a straw, and you are done. Easy and very refreshing in the summer.