How to Make Corn 'N' Oil Cocktail
Those who have passed through the Caribbean for some drinks have undoubtedly encountered this cocktail. Corn 'n' Oil gets its name from the way the dark rum contained sits on its surface like oil blackening the seas during sundown. This is a potent spirit rich in molasses and citrus flavor. So it's not for everyone given the combination outlined--that and the fact that it's an alcoholic drink if that wasn't evident enough.
A Barbadian Staple?
Corn 'n' Oil is a Barbadian borne cocktail, meaning it first popped up in Bajan pubs, though some will dispute its geographic origins across the Caribbean. These days, you can find this cocktail just about anywhere thanks to its popularity.
Corn 'n' Oil is served on the rocks and contains a heavy dose of falernum, a bitter syrup that's also of Bajan origin going back as far as the 18th century. It's stirred with blackstrap rum, a creation of Jamaica that's pretty popular among dark rum enthusiasts and fresh lime juice squeezed from a halved lime; the drained lime is also added to the glass as a garnish. Sometimes, however, extra bitters like those of Angostura bitters are also added to enhance the taste.
Due to it's design, consisting of a black dyed layer covering a velvety golden one in a high ball glass. As a Bajan borne myself, take my word that this drink is all the rave. The combination of strong molasses, mild bitters, and mild citrus is a real kick to the tongue, making this drink one of the most deliciously spiced serves at the bar.
The Proper Way To Make This Drink
As mentioned before, Corn 'n' Oil is served in a rock glass. The falernum, black strap rum, lime juice and added bitters are stirred together with crushed ice and garnished with the squeezed halved lime. The original blueprint aimed for a heavy bitter taste. Therefore, the falernum is the star of the show, taking up most of the volume in the ratio. However, other variations like the American version tend to flip the switch so that the dark rum over powers the former.
The ingredients are simply poured into the glass, one after the other at a 4:1 ratio of falernum to rum. Obviously, this is one of the simplest cocktails for anyone to get into. However, regardless of which order the mixer takes, this drink will always possess a strong molasses flavor.
For the best results, only a few brands will do the trick. Fortunately, Corn 'n' Oil has already come a long way, so making those choices based on what's popular isn't really a chore. In terms of falernum, go with Velvet Falernum. This is Barbados' very own commercially distributed brand and it shows with its quality blend of spices, cloves, ginger and lime zest. Velvet Falernum has already taken the world of mixologists by storm as it's frequently used in many cocktails.
Next is the Black strap rum and there's quite the debate over this one. Some prefer "Cruzan" from the Virgin Islands as it is produced similarly to Cuban-style rum which is quite revered. Others prefer "El Dorado 21" from Guyana because it's not as overpowering as the first pick, letting the falernum have its way with flavor as intended. And then there's Jamaica's "Blackwell" that sits between a heavy rum and a light rum in flavor. Whichever one is chosen should still do the trick but true mixologists remain open for experimentation on behalf of their consumers.
Finally, when it comes to the extra bitters for Corn 'n' Oil, its hands down Angostura. This one is a no-brainer to most mixologists as it is highly revered for drinks and foods around the world. No other blend seems to come close to its highly concentrated flavor and overall quality.
- 2 oz falernum, preferably Velvet
- 1/2 oz black strap rum
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Combine all ingredients including the squeezed halved lime in a rock glass.
- Add the the crushed ice and stir. Drop in the squeezed halved lime as a garnish and serve.
The drink is a strong spirit rich in molasses and is meant for those of 21 years of age and older. Please drink responsibly.
© 2019 Ryan Fanus