What can I use instead of velvet falernum? The best substitutes for velvet falernum are homemade falernum, allspice dram, spiced rum, and Elemakule Tiki Bitters. Non-alcoholic options are falernum syrup, orgeat, and grenadine.
Velvet falernum is a sweet Barbadian rum liqueur infused with allspice, ginger, lime, vanilla, cloves, and almonds. Containing 11% alcohol, it dates back to the nineteenth century but became famous 50 years later as a tiki cocktail ingredient. Sweet, spicy, syrupy velvet falernum adds punch to cocktails like the Mai Tai and Rum Swizzle or on the rocks. Here are the seven best substitutes for velvet falernum.
The Best Velvet Falernum Substitutes
The best substitute for velvet falernum is homemade falernum.
To make falernum at home, combine a bottle of white rum, a cup of chopped fresh ginger, the zest of 10 limes, 12 cloves, 12 allspice berries, 3 sticks of cinnamon, and 8 star anise. Place the mixture in a glass bottle or jar and seal.
After 48 hours, strain the rum mixture through cheesecloth and return to the storage jar. Add 2½ teaspoons almond extract, ¼ cup vanilla extract, and 2 cups sugar syrup (or to taste).
If desired, add a few drops Angostura bitters or lime juice.
Stir or shake the falernum well to mix. Store in the fridge.
Use your homemade falernum to replace velvet falernum in cocktails, noting that it is 40% alcohol rather than the usual 11%. Adjust proportions to suit your desired potency.
Another substitute for velvet falernum is allspice dram.
Allspice or pimento dram is a Jamaican spiced rum liqueur. The amber-colored beverage is infused with allspice berries from the pimento tree (Pimenta dioicaI).
The name allspice comes from the flavor of the spicy berries, which combine the sweet warmth of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon – all the spices. Allspice dram is characterized by this robust spiciness.
Like velvet falernum, allspice dram is a common ingredient in tiki cocktails and adds a similar dark, mysterious undertone. It contains twice the alcohol of velvet falernum.
Replace velvet falernum with allspice dram in a Zombie, Three Dots and a Dash, a Cobra’s Fang, or a Rum Old Fashioned.
You may wish to use less rum in the cocktail as allspice dram is more potent. Allspice dram is also a delicious sipping beverage.
Use equal quantities of allspice dram instead of velvet falernum.
Choose your favorite brand of spiced rum as an alternative to velvet falernum.
Spiced rum is a rum base flavored by botanicals (like herbs or flowers) or traditional baking spices (like vanilla). Most spiced rum is also sweetened.
To replace velvet falernum, choose a rum spiced with allspice, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, for example, Old New Orleans Spice Rum.
Use spiced rum to replace both one measure of rum and the velvet falernum in cocktails like the Zombie, the Barbados Cocktail (a spin on a Lime Daquiri), the Corn’ n Oil, or the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Daquiri.
Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Elemakule Tiki Bitters make a practical substitute for velvet falernum.
Not as famous as the staple Angostura Bitters, Elemakule Tiki Bitters were specifically developed as a flavoring for tiki cocktails.
“Bitters” is a variety of digestif, created initially as a herbal tonic to help digestion. Bitter ingredients like gentian root, wormwood, cassia, and burdock give these alcoholic beverages their characteristic flavor.
Some bitters, like Elemakule Tiki Bitters, include additional flavorings, like ginger, lime, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.
Like Angostura Bitters, mixologists only require a dash of Tiki Bitters to add the necessary spicy punch, as it is more intensely flavored than other beverages.
Use Elemakule Tiki Bitters instead of velvet falernum (and Angostura Bitters) to add a bittersweet spiciness to Brooklyn’s Finest, a Chartreuse Swizzle, or Hemingway Breakfast.
Replace velvet falernum with a couple of dashes of Elemakule Tiki Bitters.
Regarding flavor, falernum syrup is the best substitute for velvet falernum.
It’s easy to confuse two beverage flavorings, one labeled “velvet falernum” and the other “falernum.”
Both are syrups used as mixers, and both contain a spicy flavor combination of almonds, ginger, lime, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
However, falernum is a non-alcoholic sugar syrup, while velvet falernum is a thick, rum-based liqueur.
Both versions of falernum can be used in tiki cocktails, so it is ideal to substitute falernum syrup for velvet falernum. Use falernum if you make mocktails or want to add spicy warmth to coffee.
Use falernum as a 1:1 replacement for velvet falernum.
Orgeat is a non-alcoholic substitute for velvet falernum.
Orgeat is a thick sugar syrup flavored with sweet almonds, rose water, and orange water. It tastes somewhat like marzipan in liquid form.
In the 1930s, orgeat became a stalwart of traditional tiki cocktails. It was used by both Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber as a flavoring in rum cocktails, such as the Mai Tai. Its sweetness goes well with fruity ingredients, balanced by citrus’s acidity.
Use orgeat instead of velvet falernum in mocktails or cocktails like the Green Swizzle, the Rum Swizzle, the Jungle Hunt, and the Zombie.
Orgeat is much sweeter and less complex than velvet falernum. Add lime juice, spices, and bitters for a closer flavor approximation.
Otherwise, replace velvet falernum with a dash of orgeat, adding more to the taste. Take care that the sweetness of the orgeat doesn’t overwhelm the beverage.
Use grenadine as a handy substitute for velvet falernum.
Grenadine is a sugary syrup containing pomegranate juice, tempering the sweetness with a hint of tartness. It’s identifiable by its bright red color.
This bar stalwart is used to add a sweet burst and pink coloring to cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise or Dirty Shirley. Add it to mocktails like the Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, pink lemonade, or sparkling water.
Grenadine is not an exact flavor or color match for velvet falernum but is a practical non-alcoholic flavoring when you need a sour or bitter note in a beverage.
Add a couple of dashes of grenadine to a beverage instead of velvet falernum.