Oh, That Oil

I think I’ve discovered where the “oil” in my new friend, the Corn ‘n Oil, comes from.

This one comes from Murray Stenson, the aforementioned bartender extraordinaire from Zig Zag Cafe. In response to my falernum experiment, Murray suggested mixing a drink using Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, falernum, and the juice from a couple of lime wedges, over ice. This particular rum, Murray noted, “looks intimidating, black as a cup of day-old Starbucks, but it is smooth.”

There’s a reason Murray’s become a legend: this drink is goooood, probably the best falernum-containing drink I’ve yet tried. The picture is of a version made with Velvet Falernum, which makes a delightful cocktail when mixed about 2 ounces of the rum to 1/4 ounce falernum, and two lime wedges (about 1/4 lime) squeezed into the deal. I’ve also tried it with my homemade falernum, increased the amount to about 1/2 ounce falernum to 2 ounces rum, which is also quite agreeable, and tonight I mixed a version with the homemade, but added a dash of Fees Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters to the glass. The rich, molasses / coffee flavor of the rum easily muscled the bitters aside, which is kind of impressive when you think about it, but the falernum and lime are like lively little sidekicks to the deep, smooth taste of the spirit.

Basically a corn ‘n oil that’s hitting its stride, this drink looks like a stiff jolt of Texas crude in the glass, but tastes nice and soothing. Now if I can just figure out where the corn comes in.

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18 Responses to Oh, That Oil

  1. Wow. Cruzan Black Strap is a shocking rum… it really does own the drink. Half an ounce of my falernum hardly stands a chance against it, for better or worse. This Zig Zag Corn n’ Oil is tasty, but damn, it hits the tongue at such a 90° angle to one made with a lighter rum like Mount Gay Eclipse that I’d want to call it something else. It really is something like pure crude … if wildcatters drank things like this in the oil fields, I’d be tempted to call it a Spindletop.

    I’ve not mentioned it, but have been meaning to… regarding Corn n’ Oil recipes, while John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum site would have one mix a Corn n’ Oil in a 1:1 ratio, the back of my bottle of Velvet Falernum proposes a 3.5:1 falernum to rum ratio! Sounds like an attempt to encourage greater consumption of VF than, but something to try on the off chance that it’s palatable.

  2. Stunning, isn’t it? I was impressed with the way it so easily batted aside the dash of Fee’s I put in the glass, like King Kong swatting a biplane. I may play around with the blackstrap some more, it shows promise.

    I saw that recipe on the back of the VF bottle, and felt the need to brush my teeth right away just thinking about it.

    I’ve decided to go ahead and try another batch of falernum with the ramped-up spiciness, even though I’ve barely put a dent in my first batch. Curiosity just got the best of me. The new batch is in mid-soak now (with exponentially more cloves, and a few slices of ginger); I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  3. [...] I keep finding myself picking up Imbibe over and over again, leafing through to find something I haven’t read yet. If it isn’t obvious by now, I’ve definitely subscribed; I’ve always found it amazing how much joy you can get out of less than $20 when it comes to magazine subscriptions. It’s time to delve a bit deeper into the magazine; I’ve got a Corn ‘n Oil in hand (see recipe below) and strangely enough, some festive pirate music playing from the cd, Battle Songs of the Toucan Pirates. Hey, at least I’m not wearing a pirate hat. Kaiser Penguin is. [...]

  4. I recently attended a tasting at the beefeater distillery, in London. One of the reps for Havana club was there, and their Barrel Proof rum works really well in a corn n’ oil. Surprising to use a Cuban rum but barrel proof is not just any Cuban rum.

  5. Just back from Barbados (which I’ve visited several times), the putative home of corn ‘n’ oil. Strangely enough, nobody in the bars or the rum shops admits to ever hearing of this drink. I seem to remember that it was bottled at one time by Mount Gay. But I decided to track down corn ‘n’ oil once and for all, and turned (of course) to Google. Delighted to find so much information. Can someone please enlighten me on exactly how to prepare this drink? I have falernum, but no Cruzan molasses. Can I buy that in the NYC area? Or can some other form of blackstrap molasses do as well?

  6. Hi Stephen-
    Cruzan Blackstrap isn’t Molasses, it’s rum. A good substitute would be another dark rum, like Gosling’s.

  7. I’ve been a long time fan of the Corn+Oil. I use it as a gateway on customers who have ordered drinks containing Cola as a mixer. It works wonders and gets the conversation of cocktails going with some patrons who need a little push. My experimentation with different rums and Falernums has led to a recent discover that turned out rather Pleasant.

    1.5oz Old Monk Rum (India)
    3/4oz Fee Brothers Falernum
    1/2oz Lime
    5 dsh Angostura

    The Old monk is no Blackstrap but I find it actually works better as a substitute then the Goslings which always left me wanting more.
    Where Old Monk falls short on the depth it picks up the Carmel butterscoth notes that play well with the fee brothers.
    Try it out!

  8. My attempt at a Corn and Oil – quite delicious –

    2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
    3/8 oz Fee Bros. Falernum
    2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
    Top w/ Ginger Beer

    Stir rum, Falernum, and bitters with ice to chill. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass, top with Ginger Beer. Squeeze half of lime juice in quarter lime into drink and toss it in. Stir twice to mix.

  9. I’ve made my own falernum — very happy with it. Used what I could find on the web, but changed ratios and added ingredients to more closely resemble a cola syrup recipe. (ie, equal amount orange, lemon and lime zest; coriander seed; Cinnamon) The result is stunning and, combined with Myers Dark (2-1 in favour of rum) with bitters and a dash of lime, is sublime. Like a thick, cold, smooth cuba libra.

  10. Also, tried the 34 Zombie with same, using a mix of Myers dark, Mutasalem 7 year (an extraordinary rum, if you ask me) and Havana Club silver dry, with grapefruit juice and bitters and grenadine– and six drops macerated absinthe … avoided the cinnamon syrup as my falernum already has quite a cinnamon kick. Stirred with ice, served over cracked, rather than blended.

    result? Possibly best tiki cocktail I’ve ever tried. the sheer quantity of alcohol is staggering, with no “spirit” taste at all, but enough body to overcome what would would be a cloying sweetness with lesser quantities of rum. No wonder there used to be a 2 drink limit.

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