Once you start getting in to cocktails, it doesn’t usually take too long before you come across an ingredient you can’t easily get hold of. Whether it’s an unusual syrup that isn’t commercially made, an old liqueur that isn’t available anymore, or a brand new ingredient created by an inventive bartender, sooner of later you will have to start making your own ingredients.
I’m not adverse to having a go at making my own ingredients from time to time, however being inherently lazy and a fervent procrastinator it often takes me months to get around to buying the necessary ingredients and put them together to form a useful product. I am therefore a keen supporter of companies who make my life easier by commercially producing quality versions of unusual ingredients, and Forgotten Flavours is a perfect example of this.
Forgotten Flavours is the brainchild of Philipp Jäckel and Torben Bornhöft, two German bartenders who were unhappy with the quality of some classic cocktail ingredients that are available today, and the unavailability of others, and decided to do something about it. After much research and experimentation they have come up with two products – a falernum and a Swedish Punch – which are now available for work-shy cocktailians like me to make use of.
Forgotten Flavours Falernum
Falernum is a rum-based liqueur popular in Tiki drinks that combines limes, cloves, almond, ginger, and occasionally other ingredients, to create a spicy, sweet mixture full of flavour. Various commercial versions exist, including Fee Brother’s non-alcoholic syrup and John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum which comes in at a relatively light 11% ABV.
The Forgotten Flavours Falernum comes in at a heftier 20%, and was created with the aim of creating a less sweet, more rum-flavoured ingredient that was suitable for use in drinks beyond the usual rum Tiki drinks that call for falernum. Neat it has a hefty clove nose with a mild rum background, and on the tongue starts with a strong lime-zest flavour that then reveals a rum-tinged sweetness and a subtle clove and spice background. It is sweet but not massively so, and overall comes across as more restrained and balanced than most falernums.
Their goal of creating a falernum that works well with spirits other than rum is achieved wonderfully in a drink by Gonçalo de Sousa Monteiro which marries it with gin and Peychaud’s bitters to create a complex yet refreshing drink that lets the falernum flavours shine while providing an interesting background depth.
- 1½ shots / 45 ml / 1½ oz Tanqueray dry gin
- ½ shots / 15 ml / ½ oz falernum
- 1 bar-spoon Rose’s Lime Cordial
- 1 bar-spoon plain water
- Dash of lime
- 2-3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain in to a chilled cocktal glass. Garnish with a lime zest twist.
Forgotten Flavours Swedish Punch
Swedish Punch is a liqueur made with a base of Batavia Arak, a distillate of fermented sugar cane juice and fermented Javanese rice that has an earthy, smoky flavour and a definite rum-like taste. The Swedish added sugar, water, tea and lemon to it at home in the eighteenth century to create Swedish Punch which was originally drank warm, and it is still popular today with several commercial bottlings available in Sweden. Tiarre of A Mountain of Crushed Ice has a great write-up on the spirit at her site.
The Forgotten Flavours Swedish Punch has its origins in a recipe found in an old Germany pharmacy book, though Philipp is keen to point out the recipe now used is markedly different to this starting point. It has a mildly smoky aroma, and a sweet lemon flavour which fades to a mild smoke-tinged aromatic finish. It is remarkably smooth compared to the Arak I have, which has quite a harsh, intense flavour to it.
I look forward to experimenting with Swedish Punch, but for my first try Philipp recommended the following, which serves as a great introduction to the ingredient and happily happens to be a delicious drink at the same time. There are several variations which vary the amount of punch used, and the types of citrus, but this is my favourite so far. I served it on the rocks for no particular reason, other than that it would make for a bit of variation in the photos. It works well like this, but feel free to serve up should the mood take you.
- 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz Swedish Punch
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
- Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in to an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange or lime zest twist.
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